FOUR TV ADS and an online booking site, powered by
Expedia, signal the first phase of the $16 million Life Needs the
Caribbean regional marketing campaign. The plan is administered by
the Caribbean Hotel Assn. Charitable Trust, a public and private
sector mix of governments, hotels, airlines and credit card firms
to promote the Caribbean as a single destination. The TV ads air
through Nov. 16 on 14 national cable stations and carry a "Call
your travel agent" tag line, a toll-free booking number and the Web
address at www.gocaribbean.com. Expedia plans to launch a travel
agent booking link on the site by year's end. Eighteen Caribbean
countries, 155 hotels, Air Jamaica and American Express have signed
on as paid participants in the campaign. Countries pay into the
plan in proportion to their visitor numbers; hotels are charged
based upon number of rooms.
• New opening date for the 21-suite Turks & Caicos Club on
Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, is Dec. 1.
Construction delays pushed the date from Nov. 1.
• Cocoloba Beach Resort, Anguilla, formerly Club Valtur, has new
owners and management and offers rates through Dec. 14 from $90 per
room, double. For info and reservations, visit the Web site at www.cocolobaresort.com.
• Gogo Worldwide Vacations and the Westin St. John Resort &
Villas in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, offer a seven-night
air-and-land getaway from $919 per person, double, through Dec. 15.
Travel must be booked by Oct. 15; rates represent savings up to
40%. Included are accommodations; air from New York (JFK,
LaGuardia, Newark), Baltimore, Miami, Philadelphia or Hartford,
Conn.; transfers; taxes; and service charges. To book, visit www.gogowwv.com
or call (800) 808-5020.
• New at the 60-room Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos are two,
three-bedroom villas with private pools and butlers, two treatment
salons and a larger reception area. Rates begin at $450 per room,
double through mid-December. Bruce Willis' nine-bedroom beachfront
complex on its own bay will be in the resort's room inventory in
January. The complex is divided among three villas. For
reservations, call Leading Hotels of the World at (800)
• The opening date for the 294-room Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa
& Beach Resort is set for Sept. 22, pushed back from Aug. 15.
Although the couples-only resort will open without a casino, the
possibility of developing one has not been ruled out, according to
a spokeswoman. The former Hyatt property had allocated space for a
casino; Sandals initially plans to use that space for meetings and
BETTER THAN 10
• Windjammer Landing Villa Resort, St. Lucia, hiked commissions to
15% on all bookings made by Dec. 20 for any travel period. Agents
also receive a voucher for their clients of a $50 food and beverage
credit or a free 30-minute treatment at the resort's new Serenity
spa. To book, call (800) 743-9609 or (800) 958-7376.
• The 850-room Nassau Marriott Resort and Crystal Palace Casino
upped its commission to 15% plus cash bonuses for agents who book
groups staying through Dec. 23. To book, call (800) 222-7466.
THE JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD said it accepted the
resignations of Noel Mignott, deputy director for the Americas, and
Yvonne Sawyers, an accountant. Also leaving the tourism board is
Marie Deeble Walker, an advertising manager. The announcement
followed the board's decision to audit its New York office after
allegations of impropriety were made known to officials. In a
statement, the board said it "wishes to reiterate its commitment to
a policy of transparency in the conduct of its operations and to
ensuring the greatest professionalism and effectiveness in its
management systems and procedures, particularly in the face of
severe global challenges for tourism and the imperative to
accelerate the recovery process in the local industry."
• Pan Am has discontinued its twice-weekly service between Newark
and Santiago, Dominican Republic; reduced its Newark-San Juan
flights from six a week to two; and cut its flights to two a week
between Sanford, Fla., and Freeport, Bahamas. Total number of
flights have been trimmed from 16 a day to six a day and many
employees have been furloughed, according to Dan Fortnam, vp-sales
and marketing, who called the cuts "temporary."
• JRS Tours, based in Pittsburgh, will launch a "Jamaica shuttle"
charter service from Cleveland and Pittsburgh to Montego Bay each
Friday and Monday from Dec. 20 to April 25, aboard a 170-passenger
MD-80 aircraft. For reservations, call Apple Vacations at (800)
A 9% DROP in air arrivals since last fall led
the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) to boost landing and
passenger fees by 35% at airports in St. Thomas and St. Croix,
effective Oct. 1. VIPA executive director Gordon Finch said the
measure is part of the Port Authority's 2003 fiscal year budget.
The per-passenger fee will increase to $3.50 from $2.59.
PENCIL IT IN
• Aruba Music Festival, Oct. 11 and 12, Oranjestad, Aruba.
• Fall Sailing Festival, Nov. 2 to Dec. 22, Bitter End Yacht Club,
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.
• Cayman Islands Food & Wine Weekend, Nov. 15 to 17, Hyatt
Regency, Grand Cayman.