CRUISE VISITORS arriving at St. Kitts' Port Zante
pier will be hard-pressed to miss an eight-foot-tall column that
has a welcome message on one side and, on the other, an invitation
to return and use Freestay Coins. St. Kitts is one of eight
Caribbean islands participating in the Freestay Caribbean Coin
program, a return-stay incentive promotion geared to encourage
cruise passengers to return as stayover visitors. The coins -- and
each island has its own coin design -- entitle the bearer to
discounts at shops, hotels, restaurants and attractions. The St.
Kitts coins resemble a gold doubloon and feature the Circus, a
well-known landmark in the capital of Basseterre, on the front, and
a toll-free number and Web site URL on the flip side for more
• American Eagle will add a second daily flight from San Juan to
Nevis from June 15 through Aug. 31. The flight, which will continue
through to Antigua before returning to Nevis and San Juan, will
resume its daily schedule Nov. 15 for the peak season. The carrier
currently offers one daily roundtrip flight from San Juan to
• Cayman Airways will complete its 737 fleet-conversion from
one-class service to two next month when it launches its eight-seat
Sir Turtle business class. Perks for business-class passengers will
include priority boarding, upgraded in-flight services, mileage
bonuses and access to the Sir Turtle lounge at Owens Robert Airport
in Grand Cayman. Sir Turtle is the name of both the Cayman Islands'
turtle mascot, featured on the Dept. of Tourism's logo, and Cayman
Airways' frequent flyer program.
THE CARIBBEAN ESCAPES COLLECTION, a
"by-invitation only" marketing program featuring upscale resorts in
25 Caribbean destinations, kicked off a Secret Agent Offers program
for retailers. The electronic marketing program is distributed to
more than 7,000 agents monthly; participating resorts (a maximum of
10 each month) provide agents with special offers, additional
commissions, booking bonuses and links to resort Web sites. Agents
can sign up to receive the monthly SAO electronic newsletter at www.secretagentoffers.com.
A NEW RESOURCE geared to help agents secure a
greater share of the weddings market is the Caribbean Wedding
Association (CWA). Founder Rebecca Grinnals said CWA's unified
approach "will promote the Caribbean as a top option for couples
seeking an island wedding experience." Membership benefits include
education and certification programs; research and statistics;
referrals via a Web site, which will launch this summer; an annual
meeting; and co-op advertising and promotional marketing support.
The CWA annual membership fee is $375. For information, visit www.caribbeanweddingassociation.com.
OBITUARY: Jeremiah Gumbs, the Anguillan hotel
owner who led public opposition to Britain's plans in 1967 to
combine Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis into one self-governing
state, died in Anguilla April 8 at the age of 91. Gumbs argued
before the United Nations that Anguilla's needs would not be fairly
represented under the proposed tri-island plan. In a special
referendum on July 11, 1967, Anguillans overwhelmingly voted for
independence, later modified to a self-governing British dependent
territory with its own constitution and elected officials. Gumbs
and his wife opened Anguilla's first beach resort in 1962, what is
today Rendezvous Bay Hotel and Villas on Anguilla's southwest
• Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort named Astrid Muller general
• La Cabana All Suite Beach Resort & Casino in Aruba named
Albert Lacle director of sales and marketing. Lacle replaces Adwina
Arends, who is retiring after 14 years at La Cabana and more than
30 years in the Aruba tourism and hotel industry.
PENCIL IT IN
• Fourth Annual Soul Beach Music Festival, May 26 to 31, Aruba.
Lineup includes Sean Paul, Chaka Khan, Wyclef Jean, and Maze
featuring Frankie Beverly. Call (800) TO ARUBA for details.
• Third Annual International Jamaican Jerk/Southern Style BBQ
Cookoff, Sept. 19, Sunset Beach Resort & Spa, Montego Bay,
Jamaica. For details, call the resort at (800) 234-1707.