THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION, the Caribbean
Hotel Assn. and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Assn. shelved their
plan to implement last fall's proposal for a $20 head tax on cruise
passengers "due to problems regarding legality and compliance,"
according to CTO Chairman and Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie
Wilchcombe. The proposal, which caused an uproar at the time, was
intended to help finance a sustainable fund for Caribbean tourism
development. "We will continue to explore means for financing such
a fund," Wilchcombe said.
IN OTHER CTO NEWS, Jean Holder, secretary
general of the organization since its inception in 1989, will
retire Dec. 31. Holder's actual leave-taking will be in
mid-September, because of accrued vacation leave. During Caribbean
Week in New York City last week, the CTO established a search
committee to begin the process of selecting a new secretary
general. Wilchcombe said CTO expects to name a new secretary
general at its 27th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference, which will
take place at the Wyndham Aruba from Oct. 17 to 20. The theme of
the conference is: "Caribbean Tourism: Driving Business in the
GORDON "BUTCH" STEWART, chairman of Sandals and
Beaches Resorts, formally launched Beaches' sponsorship of and
partnership with the award-winning Sesame Street children's program
that will bring familiar furry friends such as Elmo, Grover, Cookie
Monster and Zoe to Beaches resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos,
beginning in September. Sesame Street-themed activities will
include daily appearances by the show's characters, story times and
activities for the kids and parenting seminars for mom and dad.
Theme weeks will kick off at Beaches Negril Resort & Spa and
Beaches Sandy Bay in Jamaica the weeks of Sept. 5 and 12, at
Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club in Ocho Rios, Jamaica Sept.
26 and Oct. 3. Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa in
Providenciales will host themed weeks Oct. 3 and 10. For details,
THE ANGUILLA TOURIST BOARD formally opened its
new U.S. headquarters June 8 in White Plains, N.Y., becoming the
first foreign tourist office to establish an office in Westchester
County [about 30 minutes north of New York City]. Marie Walker,
regional director, heads the office at 246 Central Ave., White
Plains, N.Y. 10606, (800) 553-4939. The Web site is www.anguilla-vacation.com. Later this month, Anguilla
will launch a new ad and branding campaign with a emphasis on
Charming Escapes--16 small hotels, inns and villas that make up
most of Anguilla's on-island room inventory.
• First-quarter occupancy figures at the 462-room Jolly Beach
Resort in Antigua averaged 74%, besting the 57% rate in the same
period last year. The U.S. market accounted for more than 32% of
hotel revenue, double what it was in the first quarter of 2001
[considered an appropriate yardstick]. The all-inclusive property
added Utsav--meaning "festival of Indian flavor"--to its restaurant
lineup and upgraded menus at the other four eateries. Rates start
at $140 per person, per night, double through Dec. 20 and cover
accommodations, meals, snacks and afternoon tea, house brand
beverages, activities and taxes. All rooms are air-conditioned and
face the ocean; each has a patio or balcony, cable TV, hair dryer
and safe. To book, visit www.jollybeachresort.com.
• Almond Resorts in Barbados offers 30% discounts on stays of three
or more nights through Nov. 30. The discount can be combined with
the Best of Barbados 2004 program, which features a $200 airfare
credit, a free room upgrade, one day's free car rental with the
purchase of a four-day rental, and discounts on excursions and
attractions, on stays of five or more nights. The Best of Barbados
program is in effect through June 30 and from Sept. 7 to Nov. 30.
The all-inclusive Almond Beach Club & Spa and Almond Beach
Village offer eight restaurants, land and water sports, golf, a
Kids Club, spa, conference center, 13 pools and miles of beach. To
book, visit www.almondresorts.com.
• Free nights and fireworks are included in Bolongo Bay Beach
Club's [St. Thomas] Red, White & Blue package for guests who
book a minimum of five nights on the resort's semi-inclusive
Continental Plan with July 4 as one of the nights. The package must
be booked through the resort's res department at (800) 524-4746 or
via e-mail at [email protected]. The name of the promotion must be
mentioned at time of booking and is valid on new bookings only. The
CP option includes beachfront accommodations, use of non-motorized
water sports and an in-pool scuba lesson. Nightly rates are $195
per room, double through Aug. 31. A seven-night CP booking throws
in an all-day sail to St. John aboard Heavenly Daze, the resort's
53-foot catamaran with lunch and open bar.
ROLODEX: Tourism pioneer and former Jamaica
Tourist Board executive Marcella Martinez has been honored by
Jamaica for her contributions to Jamaica's tourism industry. Gov.
General Sir Howard Cooke conferred upon Martinez the Order of
Distinction in the rank of Commander in a special ceremony at Kings
House, his official residence in Kingston. Martinez served as JTB's
director of public relations and assistant director of tourism
during the 1970s, worked in the areas of international relations
and tourism marketing, served as a United Nations delegate, a
teacher and broadcaster and has headed Marcella Martinez Associates
in New York since 1988.