Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter June 19, 2003

BWIA tapped two longtime executives as the carrier's general managers in a move that divided the top management roles formerly carried out by ex-CEO Conrad Aleong, who recently resigned. Nelson Tom Yew, former general manager of Tobago Express, was named general manager, corporate, while Paul Schutz, BWIA's former chief financial officer, takes over as general manager, operations. Capt. Fitzroy Wellington replaced Yew at Tobago Express. BWIA is the largest single shareholder of Tobago Express.

ALPHABET SOUP


• CHIC, or the annual Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference, opens Sunday at the Barcelo Bavaro Convention Center in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel Association. Dubbed the "Unconventional Convention," this year's confab explores the challenges facing tourism in a series of workshops and general sessions moderated by industry representatives and led by keynote speaker Sir Ian Prosser, chairman of InterContinental Hotel Group and head of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Casual attire, rather than business attire, is the fashion order of the day and is part of CHA's effort to bring Caribbean R 'n R into the mix. Male delegates are urged to shed more traditional jackets and ties in favor of the guayabera open-necked shirt. For conference details, visit www.caribbeanhotels.org.
• CTO, or the Caribbean Tourism Organization, established a task force to work with the West Indies Cricket Board in planning for the Cricket World Cup, set for April and May, 2007 in various Caribbean venues. Representatives from CTO, CHA, FCCA (Florida Caribbean Cruise Association), airlines, travel agents and 12 cricket-playing CTO member countries are involved in the task force. Among the many challenges for the organizers will be arranging transportation and accommodations for the estimated 100,000 visitors and 16 cricket teams.
• CCF, or the Caribbean Culinary Federation (an arm of CHA), will host the Taste of the Caribbean regional culinary competition Oct. 2 to 5 at the Renaissance Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Seven national culinary teams already have confirmed their participation: Anguilla; the Cayman Islands; Curacao; the Dominican Republic; Jamaica; Puerto Rico; and Trinidad & Tobago. For information, contact Wanda Pina-Ramirez at CHA via e-mail at [email protected].

GRENADA'S 300-year-old Belmont Estate plantation, south of the island's capital, St. George's, recently opened its doors to visitors. The 400-acre house and grounds still produce nutmeg and cocoa. Visitors can have a tour, a Creole-style lunch and a donkey cart ride. For estate information, e-mail [email protected]. For Grenada links, visit www.grenadagrenadines.com.

LODGEPODGE
• The 21-suite Grace Bay Club in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, will add 38 condominium villa units as part of a $35 million refurbishment. Also planned are a new spa and fitness center, a pool, a new reception area and a second restaurant and poolside grills. Villa construction begins this summer, with completion set for December 2004. The deluxe property was acquired by a team of developers who also own Esperanza resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Grace Bay Club will remain open during construction.
• Viva Resorts, with six all-inclusive properties in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, is paying 12% commission plus a $10 bonus for each direct booking on stays of four or more nights through Dec. 23. Agents must complete a Commission Bonus tracking form, available from the Viva Reservations Center at (800) 898-9968 or via e-mail at [email protected] to receive the $10 bonus.
• Harbour Village Beach Club in Bonaire remodeled its 30 rooms and suites, extended its summer package specials through 2004 and offers free dives for the second diver in a party arriving in September. For details, visit www.harbourvillage.com.

NEW APPOINTMENTS
• Ross Stevenson will step into the role of general manager at Cobblers Cove in Barbados next month, with the endorsement of Hamish Watson, the resort's 15-year host, who moves over to the Crane Beach Hotel, also on Barbados. Stevenson, formerly general manager at Royal St. Lucian Resort & Spa on St. Lucia, will immediately oversee Cobbler's annual refurbishment and enhancement program.
• Sheldon Suga is the new general manager of the Wyndham Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino in San Juan. Suga replaced Ronald DiNola, who left to join WMS Gaming in Chicago. Suga formerly was Wyndham's Atlanta area director of operations and general manager of the Wyndham Atlanta.

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