Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: March 13, 2003

LA CABANA All Suite Beach Resort in Aruba offers a new cancellation policy that protects both consumers and agents in the event of war with Iraq or a terrorist incident in North America. La Cabana will allow penalty-free cancellations within 30 days of the outbreak of war or a terrorist attack. Consumers also will be able to postpone and reschedule their travel plans for up to 12 months from the original departure date without penalty. Agent commissions will be protected; agents will collect their commissions after their clients travel. "In light of recent world events, it is imperative for La Cabana and the industry to think ahead with policies to protect consumers and agents as well as provide flexibility with rebooking," said Adwina Arends, director of sales and marketing. For details, contact the resort at (800) 835-7193 or visit www.lacabana.com.

ADD BOLONGO BAY BEACH CLUB on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, to the growing list of resorts with new cancellation policies. The property's No Penalty Cancellation Policy allows travel agents and their clients to postpone and/or cancel reservations without being penalized when their travel plans are disrupted due to the outbreak of war or a terrorist attack. Clients choosing to postpone their vacations can reschedule their trips for up to one year from their scheduled arrival. Nightly rates will remain the same as the original date of travel. Commissions are protected and will be collected once the client arrives at the property. Guests stranded at the resort in the event of disruptions in air service will be offered a 50% discount if they are staying on the Continental Plan or a 25% discount if staying on the All-Inclusive Plan. To book, call (800) 524-4746 or log onto www.bolongobay.com.

THE STARTING RATE at the new 156-room Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort & Spa in Vieques, Puerto Rico, is $249 per night, double, for accommodations with breakfast, valid through April 30. The resort's new full-service spa and fitness center will open next month. For reservations, visit www.wyndham.com.

THE PUERTO RICO Tourism Co. launched its 2003 series of travel agent seminars, a long-term educational program for agents who want to become certified experts on the destination. Steps include attendance at one of 20 GoToPuertoRico one-day seminars, which begin in New York on March 17 and conclude in San Francisco on May 22. Following the seminar, agents are invited on a six-night program to the island featuring a seminar, trade show, study materials and sightseeing trips to major points of interest. The $149 price covers accommodations, room tax, transfers and most meals. Air is not covered. Upon completion of the course, participants are certified as graduates of the Puerto Rico Travel Experts Program. Benefits include 12 ICTA credits, support from PRTC regional offices and additional specialized courses, if desired. For information, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.gotopuertorico.com/travelagent.

PACKAGED GOODS
• The booking window for the Early Bird Best of Barbados package has been extended through March 31 for seven-night stays through April 11. The package features a $300 credit towards air plus free first-night accommodations with breakfast and value-added discounts on ground activities. The summer version of the program offers a $200 air rebate for bookings through July 31 on stays from April 26 through Dec. 14. For details and a list of participating properties, visit www.barbados.org or call (800) 221-9831.
• Hyatt Resorts' three-night Sunshine on Sale package in Aruba, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico and Key West, Fla., starts at $555 per room, double, from April through mid-December. The rate represents savings up to 55% over winter-season prices. For reservations, call (800) 55HYATT.
• The Cayman Islands offers rebates up to $150 per person to American Express cardholders who purchase H2GO! "Find Your Element" four-night vacation packages in April for travel between May 1 and Oct. 31. Also included are discounts up to $1,000 for various ground activities. For details, visit www.caymanislands.ky.

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