Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: November 14, 2002

BELIZE will benefit from a surge in airlift this winter, according to Mark Espat, minister of tourism. US Airways launched nonstop service four times a week Nov. 9 between its Charlotte, N.C., hub and Belize City; on Nov. 21, Air Jamaica will introduce nonstop Montego Bay-Belize City flights four times a week with connecting service from its U.S. gateways; Continental begins weekly Saturday service from its Newark hub to Belize City, with continuing service to Honduras, Dec. 14. Continental currently has two daily flights from Houston, and American serves Belize daily from both Dallas and Miami.

THE TELEVISION component of "Life Needs the Caribbean," the $16 million regional advertising campaign, resumed Nov. 6 on 17 nationwide cable networks and will run through Nov. 24. Ralph Taylor, chairman of the Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust, the public/private sector organization that has been mandated to market the Caribbean as a single destination, anticipated the ads would generate strong results for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas travel seasons. The ads will return to the airwaves in early 2003; 18 Caribbean countries are participating in the campaign.

LODGEPODGE
• Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort in the South Stann Creek area of Belize reopens for the season Nov. 15 after a two-month low-season closure. The 25-cabana oceanfront eco-resort, 18 miles south of Dangriga, is served by Maya Island Air. Daily inclusive rates are $300 per person while the EP rate is $265; commission is 10%. For reservations, call (800) 965-9689 or visit the Web site at www.kanantik.com.
• Bolongo Bay Beach Club on St. Thomas will up its commission to 12% on direct bookings made through the resort's on-island reservations department at (800) 524-4746 or by e-mail to [email protected]. The increase takes effect Jan. 1 and will be in effect year-round on all rates and packages.
• US Airways Vacations offers discounts up to 25% on its Sunshine Savings Sale for air-inclusive bookings made through Dec. 2 for travel Dec. 13 to April 15. Discounts apply to US Airways' Caribbean and Mexico destinations from its six U.S. gateways. Some blackout dates apply. Book through VAX Vacation Access or the major GDSs.
• Club Med joined with Match.com, a subscription-based online dating service, to offer vacations for single people. Dubbed "Singles Mingle," the vacations will be promoted on www.match.com and held at Club Med villages in Cancun and Turks and Caicos.
• The 402-suite Sandals Royal Hicacos Resort & Spa has opened in Varadero, Cuba, near a 350-room Beaches Resort that opened there in March 1999.
• Elite Island Resorts offers 35% off its inclusive and EP rates for travel booked through Dec. 2 for travel Dec. 13 to April 20. The resort chain has properties in Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Palm Island in the Grenadines. For details, call (800) 345-0356 or visit www.eliteislandresorts.com.
• Four Seasons Resort Nevis will open a 12,000-square-foot full-service spa in early December. The facility will be equipped with 12 treatment rooms.

AMERICAN EAGLE Airlines signed a letter of intent to proceed with the sale of Executive Airlines, which operates as American Eagle out of hubs in Miami and San Juan with service to destinations in Florida and the Caribbean. The buyer is Joaquin Bolivar, chairman of the Water Club and Excelsior hotels in San Juan and the founder of Executive Airlines. The transaction will include a marketing partnership under which Executive Air will continue to provide feed traffic to American, using the designator code of AmericanConnection.

AIR BYTES
• US Airways will launch nonstop weekly service to St. Kitts from Philadelphia Dec. 7, staking claim as the only carrier offering jet service to St. Kitts from the U.S. Weekly service to Grenada from Philadelphia begins Dec. 21; daily nonstop service from Philadelphia to Grand Bahama Island starts Feb. 15.
• A new air alliance will offer connections linking the 14 destinations served by Caribbean Star Airlines, based in Antigua, with the eight islands served by St. Maarten-based Windward Islands Airways International (Winair). Discussions are underway to coordinate flight schedules, marketing, sales, code-share agreements and tour programs.
• Discover Air, an Orlando-based carrier, launched scheduled charter service three times a week between Key West and Nassau using a 19-seat Jetstream aircraft. Service is offered Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The airline pays 5% commission, uncapped.

PENCIL IT IN
• Garifuna Settlement Day, Nov. 19, parades and cultural activities throughout Belize.
• Moods of Pan Festival, Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, various venues in Antigua, including Jolly Beach Resort Nov. 28.
• Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange, April 10 to 12, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

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