Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: April 22, 2004

THE BARBADOS TOURISM AUTHORITY'S Best of Barbados off-season program, now in its third year, runs through June 30 and will be in place again Sept. 7 to Nov. 30. Incentives include a $100 air fare credit per person, free American breakfast daily and one free night on a seven-night stay [or a free night on a five-night all-inclusive program]. Some 32 properties, representing all price ranges, participate in the program. Bookings will be capped at 8,000, said Bill Silvermintz, vice president of marketing, the Americas, for the Barbados Tourism Authority, who cited "a small budget and high expenses" for thee program, which will be promoted in Boston, the New York metro area, Baltimore/Washington and Florida's Gold Coast from Palm Beach south. The ads will feature the destination's new tag line: "The Last Authentic Caribbean Experience," which replaces "Just Beyond Your Imagination."

TOURIST OFFICE TIDINGS


• The Anguilla Tourist Board is raising the bar on the traditional travel agent fam trip with its four-night air-inclusive Alluring Anguilla Experience, valued at more than $6,000. To thank agents who've booked at least one client in 2003 at one of 24 resort properties listed on the ATB's Web site [www.anguilla-vacation.com], the tourist board is offering roundtrip air from the U.S. on American and American Eagle, high-end accommodations, transfers, spa treatments, and meals. Participating properties include Cap Juluca, Cuisinart Resort & Spa, Frangipani Beach Club, Malliouhana Hotel & Spa, Altamer Villas and a select number of additional luxury villas. The fam trips depart Thursdays between May 6 and June 24. In addition, agents booking Anguilla between June 15 and Aug. 31 will receive a $100 cash bonus per booking, with a limit of four bookings. To register for the fam trip and bonus details, visit ATB's Web site and click on "Travel Agent: Alluring Anguilla Experience" or call Kerensa Fleming at (914) 287-2400.
• The U.S. Virgin Islands' Summer Super Saver promotion offers discounted accommodations, the fifth night free when four are booked on St. Croix or St. Thomas [five on St. John] and a $50 American Express travelers check per person. Clients who book the promotion with an Amex card receive a coupon booklet worth up to $500 in free gifts and discounts at restaurants, local tour operators and stores. The promotion must be booked by Aug. 15 for travel through Aug. 31. Participating properties include seven on St. Croix, one on St. John and 13 on St. Thomas. For more information, visit www.usvitourism.vi.
• The Puerto Rico is Fun summer promotion, valid for bookings from May 1 through Dec. 20 for travel from May 4 through Dec. 20, includes a fourth night free; daily breakfast; a room category upgrade at participating properties; 10% off food and beverages at hotel restaurants; the LeLoLai discount card; a 30% discount on a Hertz rental car; and a 20-minute phone card. Kids 12 and under stay for free. Participating tour operators include AA Vacations, Continental Vacations, Delta Vacations, Future Vacations, Gogo Worldwide Vacations, Inter Island Tours, Northwest Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, United Vacations and US Airways Vacations. For details, visit www.gotopuertorico.com and click on Puerto Rico is Fun.

TO CELEBRATE the May 9 debut of its 600-passenger, two-deck Bahama Cat high-speed ferry between Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas Florida Express introduced three-night packages with rates starting at $320 per person, double, through Sept. 6. The rates include roundtrip ferry transportation and accommodations with breakfast at Pelican Bay at Lucaya. Agents earn 12% commission on their first nine bookings, and 15% for 10 or more. Six other Grand Bahama properties, including the Westin and Sheraton at Our Lucaya and the Crowne Plaza at Royal Oasis, are participating in the package. Roundtrip ferry-only rates, excluding $31 port charges and taxes, are $119 for adults, $99 for seniors and $70 for children ages 3 to 17. The Bahama Cat departs Port Everglades [Fort Lauderdale] daily at 3:45 p.m., arriving at Grand Bahama Island at 6:15 p.m.; the return departs GBI at 9:45 a.m., arriving at Port Everglades at 12:15 p.m. Onboard ferry amenities include a TV/movie lounge, a casino, a restaurant, two bars, and a duty-free shop. For further information, visit www.ferrybahamas.com.

BUY A CAR, get a free trip is the incentive dangled by 140 Ford dealers in select mid-Atlantic markets who partnered with the U.S. Virgin Islands on a vacation promotion. Customers who purchase a Ford Escape by April 30 automatically receive a four-night air [US Airways] and land escape for two on either St. Croix or St. Thomas. Travel must be completed by April 7, 2005. Participating hotels include Carambola Beach Resort and Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort on St. Croix, and Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa on St. Thomas. The car dealers are in Washington; Baltimore; and Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke, Va. TV and print advertising takes place throughout April.

OOPS!!!
More than 70,000 agents [not the 7,000 as incorrectly reported in the April 15 Caribbean E-Letter] receive the Caribbean Escapes Collection's electronic marketing program monthly. The monthly newsletter includes a rundown of Secret Agent Offers available at participating resorts each month as well as 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 or at www.caribbeanescapes.com.

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