and Beaches Resorts posted an 11% increase
in business from the U.S. during the first nine months of 2002 vs.
the same period a year ago, according to Gordon "Butch" Stewart,
chairman. The majority of the business came through agents, Stewart
said. To encourage business, "we upgraded our products, spent close
to $30 million on refurbishments and increased the value of the
tour packages," he said.
MEANWHILE, the Jamaica-based resort chain
recently hosted its ninth annual Ultra Awards, held in St. Lucia at
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort to honor its top
industry partners. The awards are based on sales volume for
arrivals from Aug. 1, 2001, to July 31, 2002. The No. 1 producer
was Gogo Worldwide Vacations; top-producing tour operator was Mark
Travel Corp.; top suite sellers were Air Jamaica Vacations, Gogo,
Mark Travel and MLT Vacations; and top group producer was Maritz
US AIRWAYS VACATIONS is offering travel rebates
of up to $150 on four-night air-inclusive packages to select
resorts on Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island. Bookings
must be made by Dec. 22 for travel through Dec. 9 and Jan. 6
through Feb. 10. The operator also is offering rebates of up to
$100 on packages to Puerto Rico and Sandals and Beaches Resorts
through March 31. Bookings must be made by Nov. 30 through VAX
Vacation Access at www.vacationaccess.com or the major GDSs.
THE U.S. AND JAMAICAN governments initialed an
open-skies agreement, which, when ratified, will enable airlines of
both countries to gain greater access to the U.S.-Jamaica
• Couples Resorts of Jamaica will launch a $3 million ad campaign
in January, showcasing the cuisine, design, service, amenities and
atmosphere of its three inclusive resorts. The print and cable TV
campaign will use the tagline: "The All-Inclusive Refined,
• Rendezvous, St. Lucia will complete a $5 million enhancement
program by early December that includes refurbishment of its 100
guest rooms and public areas. Nightly rates at the inclusive
resort, valid to Dec. 20, 2003, range from $183 to $300 per person,
double. For details, visit www.rendezvous.com.lc.
• Sandals White House, a 360-room property near Montego Bay,
Jamaica, will open between December 2003 and February 2004 and will
feature 18,000 square feet of meetings space and seven
• Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Montego Bay acquired Welcome
Wharf, a 19th-century plantation house set on 10 acres next to the
resort. The building will be converted to a spa and will open by
LIAT won loan guarantees totaling more $4
million from seven Caribbean governments when it announced that
cash-flow problems could cause it to suspend flights by
mid-November. Pledging aid were Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,
Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The
Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. LIAT's three-year business
plan will be reviewed this month and will call for newer, more
efficient aircraft and further investment in the carrier's
infrastructure, according to Gary Cullen, CEO.
• On Nov. 2, US Airways launched daily nonstop service between
Washington (National) and Nassau, using A319 aircraft. The carrier
also introduced service four times a week between its hub in
Charlotte, N.C., and Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.
Effective Nov. 9, it will introduce year-round service four times a
week between Charlotte and Belize.
• BWIA set promotion fares to the Caribbean for travel through June
5. Tickets must be booked by Nov. 13. Roundtrip rates from Miami
range from $334 to Trinidad to $412 to St. Lucia; from New York,
fares range from $392 to Barbados, Dominica and Grenada to $599 to
• Air Jamaica will begin nonstop service from Montego Bay to Belize
Nov. 21 four times a week.
• Cape Air will offer hourly service between San Juan and St.
Thomas; St. Croix; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and five
flights a day between San Juan and Ponce, Puerto Rico, by early
January. The regional carrier will continue its policy of no
cancellation or penalty fees. To view the schedule, visit www.capeair.com.
• Delta started new daily nonstop service Nov. 1 between Atlanta
and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
PILAR BUSH, U.S. director of sales and
marketing for the Cayman Islands, assumed the new post of deputy
director of tourism, U.S. sales and marketing. Bush will remain
based in New York. The U.S. market represents 80% of the tourism
travel to the Cayman Islands.
PENCIL IT IN
• Professional Windsurfers Assn. Freestyle Championship 2002, Dec.
17, Sorobon Beach, Bonaire.
• Barbados 2003 Festival, Jan. 13 to 19, Barbados. For details,
• Int'l Scuba Diving Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Jan. 17,
George Town, Grand Cayman.
• Caribbean Hotel Assn. Marketplace, Jan. 19 to 21, San Juan.
• Mustique Blues Festival, Jan. 22 to Feb. 5, Mustique, Bequia and