Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: March 11, 2004

JETBLUE plans to ramp up its Caribbean service this summer with more flights to Puerto Rico and its first-ever service to the Dominican Republic. Starting May 27, the low-cost carrier makes Aguadilla -- on Puerto Rico's northwest coast -- its second destination on the island with daily roundtrip flights from New York's Kennedy Airport. In addition, the carrier will add two more daily roundtrip flights from Kennedy to capital city San Juan, currently served by four roundtrips, for the summer season. JetBlue also said it filed with the DOT March 8 for permission to begin twice-daily service to Santiago, Dominican Republic, as of June 10, and a daily flight to the Dominican capital Santo Domingo, starting June 17. Both routes will depart from Kennedy. "We're excited to expand our service in the Caribbean," said JetBlue chief executive David Neeleman. Regular one-way, online fares between New York and Aguadilla will range from $134 to $294 at www.jetblue.com.

SIGNS OF an improving business environment on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, were the recent purchases of two well-known hotels. Danish developer Hans Probst paid $3.2 million for the 40-room King Christian Hotel, a fixture in the heart of Christiansted for 200 years. Probst will keep the hotel name, which honors the 19th-century Danish King Christian IX. Room refurbishments and a restaurant reopening figure in his plans. The new owner of the Cormorant Beach Club & Hotel, three miles west of Christiansted, is a Baltimore lawyer who paid $800,000 for the 40-room hotel and plans to expand it to 100 rooms and upgrade the food and beverage operation.

THE PUERTO RICO TOURISM CO. teamed with Continental Airlines Vacations to conduct an awards competition for this month's top-producing U.S. travel agents. Under contest rules, the agent who books the most room nights to Puerto Rico in March for travel April 15 to July 31 will win a four-night trip for two to the island, as well as a $500 pre-charged American Express card. Eligible room nights must be booked with participating wholesalers American Airlines Vacations, Classic Custom Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Delta Vacations or Continental Vacations. Registration is automatic when bookings are made with Continental Airlines Vacations at (800) 634-5555 or online at www.vaxvacationaccess.com.

IN OTHER PRTC DEALINGS, the PRTC and Inter Island Tours offer an online family vacation sweepstakes contest through April 3 that features a grand prize of a trip for four to the Porta del Sol region of western Puerto Rico. To enter, visit www.gotopuertorico.com.

LODGEPODGE
• Club Med offers travel agents a discounted land rate of $49 per person, per night at Paradise Island, the Bahamas through April 24 (blackout dates apply the weeks of April 3 and 10). To book, call (800) 434-0685. After confirmation of booking, agents must fax a copy of their IATA card to (480) 443-2085.
• THE 63-ROOM Bucuti Beach Resort in Aruba will debut its 39 Tara beach suites March 19. Amenities include a fully stocked wet bar and mini bar, high-speed Internet access, pay-per-view movies, a refrigerator, an in-room safe, a separate living room with a computer desk, and 24-hour concierge services. For information, visit www.bucuti.com.
• Divi Resorts, with nine resorts on six Caribbean islands, relaunched its Web site at www.diviresorts.com. The site now includes a booking engine as well as information on hotel amenities, dining and meal plan options, special packages and events, a photo gallery and golf and dive details. A dedicated booking page for agents also has info on special industry rates.

PENCIL IT IN
• 6th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, April 27 to 30, Havana, Cuba.
• 15th annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), May 2 to 4, Half Moon, Montego Bay.
• 8th annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, May 10 to 12, Ritz Carlton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
• Caribbean Week, May 31 to June 5, New York City.
• 2004 Belize Tourism ExpoMarketplace and Expedition, Sept. 14 to 19, Princess Hotel in Belize City. Visit www.travelbelize.org for details.
• Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-27), Oct. 17 to 20, Aruba.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI