Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter Oct. 9, 2003

THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION'S 26th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference, hosted for the first time in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef in St. Thomas, gets underway next week. Pre- and post-conference agent tours will visit St. Croix and St. John; agents also will have hotel and cruise ship site inspections and island tours of St. Thomas. The Travel Institute (formerly ICTA) upped the ante from three to 10 continuing education units for certified travel counselors and associates who participate in destination presentations and niche market seminars at CTC-26. CTO will launch three online initiatives at the conference, including an online booking engine for agents, a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace and an interactive travel planner. Agents will have access to general sessions and motivational workshops wrapped around the overall theme of recovery and growth in a competitive environment. Barbados and Air Jamaica will host an agent breakfast; workshops will focus on weddings and honeymoons, eco and adventure tourism, cooperative selling strategies and event planning. For details, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

LODGEPODGE
• Resorts slated to open next month in the Bahamas include the 183-room Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay and the 20-room/22-villa Emerald Palms on South Andros. Two of the five towers at Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino have completed renovations; Old Bahama Bay on Grand Bahama Island is adding 12 junior suites and four two-bedroom Grand Bay suites; Pelican Bay at Lucaya will complete the addition of 48 one-bedroom units by January; and the $1 million renovation at Viva Fortuna Beach on Grand Bahama will be finished by January.
• The 66-room Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada will complete a $400,000 room renovation project by Dec. 15, complete with new bedding and bathroom upgrades.
• The four-room Deep Blue View B&B in Bonaire offers six one-tank boat dives for $150 per person, including tank, weights and tax. The resort has its own boat that can accommodate up to eight people. For rates, visit www.deepblueview.com.
• SuperClubs' Breezes Montego Bay waived the greens fees for its golfing guests who play at the nearby Ironshore Golf Course. Golfers also receive roundtrip transfers to the course, 15 minutes away, provided that two or more golfers travel together.
• Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort on St. Lucia pays 15% commission on its special package rates which represent a 15% savings to guests. The plans have a minimum six-night stay and include two meals a day and roundtrip transfers. Rates start at $105 per person, per night, double through Dec. 20 and from $125 from Jan. 4 through April 18. For details, visit www.windjammer-landing.com.

THE VENUE FOR CARIBBEAN MARKETPLACE 2004, the annual conference of the Caribbean Hotel Association, is set for San Juan's Roberto Clemente Coliseum Jan 11 to 14. Caribbean Marketplace, co-sponsored by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., the municipality of San Juan and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, originally was to have been held at the new Puerto Rico Coliseum in Hato Rey, a San Juan suburb. However, the Hato Rey facility will not be ready on time.

ROLODEX
• The Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board appointed Kerry Fountain executive director. He previously served as general manager, the Americas, for the Bahamas Tourist Office, which is part of the Ministry of Tourism.
• Kerzner International named J.T. Kuhlman chief executive of its recently launched One & Only Resorts brand. Kuhlman was formerly president of Inter-Continental/Crowne Plaza, a subsidiary of Bass Hotels & Resorts. Longtime Kerzner executive Paul Jones was named COO of One & Only.
• Raffles Int'l appointed Brad Beaty director of sales and marketing for Raffles Resort at Canouan Island, the Grenadines. Beaty's track record includes Orient-Express Hotels' La Samanna in St. Martin, Four Seasons Resort in Nevis and corporate sales management positions at The Mark and the Helmsley properties in New York. The Canouan resort, Raffles' first in the Caribbean, is scheduled to open next summer.
• The Cayman Islands Dept. of Tourism named Donald Foste senior manager, U.S. sales and marketing, based in New York. Previous experience includes stints with Club Med and Continental Exhibitions.
• Couples Resorts appointed Melissa Trench sales and marketing communications manager in the Miami headquarters. Trench will serve as liaison between Couples Resorts and tour operators, agents and marketing partners.

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