Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: October 10, 2002

PUERTO RICO now offers interactive travel kiosks at select Esso On The Run convenience stores where travelers can obtain maps and information about attractions and events islandwide. The free kiosks, developed by E-Hospitality Central in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., provide 24-hour access to information in the Puerto Rico Travel Planner, PRTC's sports, tours and culture guide, as well as access to the Internet for additional details. The kiosks feature a touch screen and printer. PRTC expects to have eight kiosks operating at locations across the island by December. For information on the kiosks, call (800) 866-7827 or visit PRTC'S Web site at www.gotopuertorico.com.

AMERICAN EXPRESS and Bahamas' tourism interests again extended their value-added Bahamas Getaway program. Under the plan, clients using their American Express cards can save $75 per booking on three-night plans and $150 per booking on four-night or longer packages. The deals, offered through participating operators, are valid for travel through Feb. 15 on bookings made by Dec. 22. For South Florida residents, $25 is saved when a two-night Bahamas Getaway package is booked. For information, call (800) 4-BAHAMAS or visit www.bahamas.com/getaway.

IN RESPONSE TO requests from its nationwide network of travel agents, Pleasant Holidays will feature only one toll-free number in its communications. The new number, (800) 448-3333, takes effect Oct. 27. For details, visit the Web site at www.pleasantagent.com.

LODGEPODGE
• Antigua's Curtain Bluff Resort reopens for the season Oct. 26 with 20 new junior suites plus the Grace Bay and Morris Bay extra-large suites. Also new for the winter are an activities room, children's playground, yoga classes, hot-stone massages and a new dining terrace.
• The Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino in the Bahamas increased its cash bonuses to agents who book groups for travel between Jan. 3 and May 30. Agents now will receive $200 for booking a minimum of 45 room nights for groups staying Sundays-Wednesdays and a $100 bonus for Thursday-Saturday stays. The new bonuses are in addition to a 15% commission.
• The 20-unit Belize Island Lodge, on the island of Moho Caye in the south of Belize, opens in December. The lodge is a 20-minute boat ride from Punta Gorda and 30 minutes from the Belize Barrier Reef. For details, visit www.belizelodge.com.
• Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, St. Lucia, offers a free wedding and complimentary room upgrade for honeymooners who book six or more nights for travel through Dec. 20, 2003. The free wedding package is valued at $650 and covers the license, fees, bouquet, wedding cake, champagne, services of a photographer, a champagne breakfast and sunset cruise. For information, call (800) 743-9609.
• Club Med introduced a Second Person Flies Free promotion for travel to Club Med Turkoise in Turks and Caicos from Boston and Atlanta and to both the Turkoise and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, villages from the New York (Kennedy) and Newark charter gateways. The offer applies to bookings by Oct. 20 for seven-night stays from Nov. 2 to Dec. 14, excluding Thanksgiving.

TOURISTS arriving in Cuba are not subject to new weight limits on personal belongings, according to Cuban customs officials who issued a clarification Oct. 7 regarding new customs taxes slated to take effect Nov. 1. The new tax ruling first appeared on a Web site Sept. 27 maintained by the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba at www.aduana.islagrande.cu. Several newspapers in Canada and Miami then reported that visitors would be charged hefty arrivals taxes, based on the weight of their baggage. A deluge of inquiries at the Web site prompted the clarification. A spokesman for the Cuban Tourist Board in Toronto said that tourists may continue to import personal belongings free of charge and without weight limits.

AIR BYTES
• Northwest Airlines will launch daily year-round service from Memphis to Grand Cayman, beginning Oct. 27.
• Delta begins year-round Saturday service from both Atlanta and New York to Aruba Dec. 1 and from Atlanta to Curacao Jan. 11. Seasonal Saturday-only service from Atlanta to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, will run from Dec. 1 through April 30.
• Air Jamaica slashed its winter fares 40% on tickets booked by Oct. 28 for travel from Dec. 27 to April 9. The carrier also is doubling all frequent flyer credits in its 7th Heaven program until Dec. 15.

THE ARUBA TOURISM AUTHORITY will host agent seminars in several Northeast cities during the weeks of Nov. 4 to 8, 11 to 15 and 18 to 22. For a complete schedule, call (201) 330-0800 or e-mail [email protected].

TURKS AND CAICOS tourism officials, hoteliers, tour and water-sports operators will join American Airlines in Boston for four days of travel agent meetings and sales calls that will culminate with a trade show and destination presentation Oct. 24 at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show and preceding events will highlight American's increase in direct flights from Boston to three a week starting Nov. 1. Anyone interested in attending the events should call (800) 241-0824.

PENCIL IT IN
• Puerto Rico Tourism Co. agent fam trips, Oct. 17 to 21 and 24 to 28, San Juan.
• Sixth World Creole Music Festival, Nov. 1 to 3, Roseau, Dominica.
• Twelfth annual Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta, Nov. 8 to 16, Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Palm Beach, Aruba.
• Breitling Pro-Am Golf Tournament, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort, Grand Bahama Island.

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