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Archive for February, 2015

Martinique cruise sector riding unprecedented wave of success

NEW YORK, NY – February 25, 2015 – Martinique’s cruise sector continued to net strong results in 2014. According to the latest statistics from The Martinique Tourism Authority, cruise passenger arrivals for calendar year 2014 (January–December) were up 71.3% when compared to the same period in 2013.

“We could not be more pleased and proud of the results we’re seeing from the cruise sector,” said Karine Roy-Camille, commissioner of the Martinique Tourism Authority. “Without a doubt, the cruise sector is blossoming here in The Isle of Flowers, and with all the room we still have to grow and improve our tourism product, the best is yet to come.”

One of the fastest growing cruise destinations in the Caribbean, Martinique has experienced a 524% increase in cruise passenger arrivals since 2010. For the 2014-2015 cruise season (November 2014–April 2015), The Martinique Tourism Authority is projecting 220,000 cruise passengers among the 176 scheduled port calls.

“All of the major North American and European cruise lines have stops planned in Martinique this year, including visits by Royal Caribbean’s celebrated Quantum of the Seas in her inaugural season, and the magnificent Carnival Splendor,” said Roy-Camille. “We are committed to further investment in the cruise sector and improving our overall tourist product to ensure that the strong results of the past few years will continue in 2015 and beyond.”

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IGLTA awards Curaçao with ‘Destination Pioneer’ honor

Willemstad, Curaçao – February 2015 – The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) has awarded the Curaçao Tourist Board with its prestigious “Destination Pioneer” award for its exceptional efforts in developing the island into an all-welcoming destination for travelers.

Curaçao boasts an impressive number of hotels and attractions with IGLTA memberships, which reflects its “Live and Let Live” philosophy to embrace all travelers.  Since the 2004 launch of GayCuracao.com, an in-depth resource for gay travelers to the island, the Curaçao Tourist Board has made significant strides to put this Dutch Caribbean island on the map for LGBT travelers.

Throughout the years, the Curaçao Tourist Board has launched several campaigns in an effort to accept travelers from all types of races, orientations, and religions.  These efforts include supporting Curaçao Gay Pro to develop a variety of LGBT-focused island events throughout the year, such as last year’s inaugural South Caribbean Pride Festival, a weeklong celebration bringing together the neighboring LGBT communities.

The Floris Suite Hotel has also been an important advocate for welcoming the gay community. Not only is the hotel’s General Manager, Frank Holtslag, the President of Curaçao Gay Pro, but Floris is also the official host hotel during the Curaçao Pride Festival and hosts several pride and LGBT events throughout the year.

“It is a true honor for Curaçao to be recognized by the IGLTA as a destination pioneer,” said Andre Rojer, North American Marketing Manager for the Curaçao Tourist Board and Ambassador for IGLTA in the Caribbean.” The award is a testament to the work we’ve done on island and abroad, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with IGLTA and bringing more travelers to discover our beautiful island.”

In April, the Curaçao Tourist Board will be honored at IGLTA’s 32nd Annual Global Convention, along with other LGBT advocates in the travel industry.  For more information on LGBT travel in Curaçao, visit www.gaycuracao.com or www.curacao.com.

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Martinique’s Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek gets high ranking

NEW YORK, NY – February 24, 2015 – Martinique’s status as one of the Caribbean’s top luxury destinations was validated recently by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek, the island’s preeminent all-inclusive resort, on its “Best Hotels for 2015” list.

“This is a great honor for Club Med and our hospitality sector in general,” said Karine Roy-Camille, commissioner of the Martinique Tourism Authority. “Together, as a unified tourism body, the local government and private sector partners like Club Med have worked tirelessly in recent years to elevate our product to meet the needs of today’s modern traveler. This designation confirms that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Hotels” rankings are determined by the prominence of industry accolades a hotel receives, along with its reputation among professional travel experts, guest reviews and hotel class ratings. The aggregate opinion of travel experts – expressed through awards, recommendations and ratings – is combined with consumer evaluations measured through TripAdvisor. Hotels identified as “Best” are considered the top 30% of all luxury hotels within their respective destinations.

Nestled along the calm, clear Caribbean Sea in southern Martinique, Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek has a long and distinguished history of hospitality excellence. The 293-room property, extending over 48 lush, tropical acres that once served as a coconut plantation, was the first Club Med village resort of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, dating back to 1969. A comprehensive $60-million reconstruction and remodeling program completed in 2005 elevated the property to luxury status, with an exclusive new on-site spa, expansive infinity pool, gourmet dining options, flat-screen TVs, plush bedding, and other choice amenities establishing Buccaneer’s Creek as the new upscale flagship resort in the Club Med portfolio.

For more information on Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek, please visit www.clubmed.us.

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Bahamas now Official Home of the Swimming Pigs

Nassau, Bahamas, (February 13, 2015) The Bahamas is now the ‘Official Home of the Swimming Pigs’. Visitors to the islands are happily embracing the unique and special experience to swim with the pigs on the uninhabited Island of Big Major Cay, which is home to these special creatures. The swimming pigs join the vast opportunities of aquatic activities already popular with visitors from snorkeling with tropical fish and sea turtles to shark and eel sightings to scuba diving.

The family of pigs, dubbed ‘adorable’ by tourists, locals and media, reside on Big Major Cay, located in The Exumas, a family of 360 islands, or cays, in The Bahamas. They have become incredibly popular to Bahamians and visitors alike. The pigs, though feral, are exceptionally friendly, running from under the shade of almond trees to greet tourists that bring them treats. They’ve also learned that crews from passing yachts will dump excess food in the sea for them as well. The pigs live freely on the sandy beaches and after basking in the sun for hours, swim in the surf. They are truly a sight to behold and have become so popular that they’ve inspired a children’s book, “The Secret of Pig’s Island,” by author Jennifer R. Nolan and a children’s song by children’s author Sandra Boynton, as well as having the uninhabited island affectionately called, ‘Pig Beach.’

It is unknown how this pack of pigs originally came to live on Big Major Cay as they aren’t native and the island itself is uninhabited. Popular lore suggests that the pigs were dropped off by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them, or that there was a nearby shipwreck and the pigs swam to safety. However it was that they came to be, there are approximately 20 pigs or piglets now who are able to easily survive in part as Big Major Cay is blessed with three freshwater springs for them to drink from as well as the generosity of Bahamians and tourists feeding them.

“As a world-renowned region known for providing visitors with the most beautiful beaches, lavish hotels and resorts, fine-dining, welcoming Bahamians and being a dream destination, The Islands Of The Bahamas are very proud to be the Official Home of the Swimming Pigs,” said the Director General of The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu. “Providing visitors with this once-in-a-lifetime experience by interacting with these wonderful animals is just one more thing that distinguishes The Bahamas. We’ve already introduced thousands of visitors to ‘Pig Beach’ and we look forward to welcoming thousands more in the years to come. These animals are now as intrinsic to the Bahamian experience as any other gem visitors will discover when visiting,” she concluded.

Visitors can book their visit to Big Major Cay for their opportunity to swim with the pigs through a variety of excursion vendors on The Islands. Guests staying at Royal Plantation Island, at Fowl Cay can take a boat directly to the island. From mainland Exuma there are various boat excursions to satisfy every individuals cruising desires. The three main excursion companies are: Staniel Cay Area Boat Tours, Four C Adventures, and Exuma Cay Adventures. More information regarding the available excursions can be found by visiting Bahamas.com.

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Carnival Triumph makes inaugural call to Dominica

ROSEAU, Dominica (Feb. 20, 2015) – Dominica welcomed Carnival Triumph of Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) this week as it made its inaugural call, arriving at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth. With a passenger capacity of 2,754 and crew size of 1,100, Carnival Triumph sailed to the “Nature Island” from Grenada. This is the Triumph’s only scheduled call to Dominica during the 2014/2015 cruise season.

To commemorate the occasion, government officials and tourism stakeholders exchanged plaques with the ship’s captain and crew as part of a welcome ceremony aboard the ship. Local steel pan ensemble, Ti Bois and Rhythm and Steels, provided shore side cultural entertainment during the festivities.

“We are excited to welcome Carnival Triumph, its passengers and crew,” said Colin Piper, Dominica’s director of tourism. “The relationship between Carnival Cruise Lines and Dominica began in 1989, and we are pleased to build on this long-standing partnership.

Upon leaving Dominica the ship sailed to St. Maarten. Carnival Cruise Lines began calling on Dominica in 1989, but stopped in 2010. This is the third CCL vessel to call on the island since 2010.

Cruise tourism is a major component of Dominica’s growing tourism sector. During the 2013/2014 cruise season, there were one hundred and eighty-eight (188) calls which translated into 282,404 passengers. An estimated191 cruise ships are expected to call to Dominica during the 2014/2015 season, bringing 292,210 visitors to the island. So far during the 2014/2015 cruise season, seven ships have made inaugural calls on Dominica.

Cruise visitors to Dominica can register for the island’s Return & Win program at the sign- up desk at the Roseau Cruise Ship Berth. Passengers or crew receive a unique redemption code which is valid for $200 USD credit toward their next land-based vacation for a minimum five-night stay. Learn more at www.DiscoverDominica.com/ReturnandWin.

 

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Silver Airways increases airlift from Florida to The Islands Of The Bahamas

Marsh Harbour, Abaco, February 17, 2015: Travelers flying out of Florida now have even more access to The Islands of The Bahamas with the introduction of several new Silver Airways flights.

On Saturday, February 14, Marsh Harbour International Airport welcomed the Silver Airways inaugural flight from Tampa, one of the airline’s many routes that commenced this past weekend.

The 35-seater Silver Airways Saab 340B Plus turbo-prop aircraft received the traditional water cannon salute to mark the special occasion, and the excited passengers were greeted by Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Abaco officials.

The airline now offers two new weekly nonstop flights between Tampa and Marsh Harbour on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to the new nonstop service, daily one-stop connecting flights are also available.

Vice President of Marketing for the Tampa International Airport Christopher Minner arrived on the full inaugural flight, which he said is an indication that The Islands Of The Bahamas are in high demand for Tampa residents.

“I’ve been a part of the Tampa International Airport team for four years, and I can tell you that Marsh Harbour, every single year, is one of our number one requested destinations,” Minner said during the welcome ceremony at Silver Airways check-in counter in the Marsh Harbour International Airport.

“[Tampa is] one of the fastest growing markets. We also have the largest percentage of originating travel of any major market in the state of Florida; 42 percent of the passengers at Tampa Airport begin their journey in Tampa Bay. That means they’re looking for places to come and spend their money, [they are looking to] to stay in your hotels and eat in your restaurants. I know that this will be a tremendous boost for the economy of Marsh Harbour, and for The Bahamas,” Minner added.

“The entire hospitality industry is genuinely excited about this new nonstop service,” Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu noted. “This inauguration is indicative of the confidence that the airline has in our commitment to embracing initiatives that will increase visitor arrivals as well as the airline’s confidence in The Bahamas’ tourism product.”

Silver Airways accounts for more than 40 per cent of the airlift from Florida into The Out Islands of The Bahamas, according to Tourism Senior Director of Airlift, Tyrone Sawyer.

This past weekend the airline also introduced a new weekly nonstop flight between Orlando and North Eleuthera, and one weekly nonstop flight between Orlando and Freeport, Grand Bahama, both on Saturdays.

Seasonal service between Fort Lauderdale and Governors Harbour, Eleuthera, has been resumed with three weekly flights.

Silver Airways has also resumed service between Orlando and Marsh Harbour with daily service, and Jacksonville and Marsh Harbour with two weekly flights.

George Town, Exuma enjoys five weekly flights from Fort Lauderdale.

According to airline representatives, Silver Airways also added more flights for the peak travel season between Fort Lauderdale and Bimini, Freeport, Marsh Harbour, North Eleuthera and Treasure Cay, as well as between Palm Beach and Marsh Harbour.

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard choose The Bahamas for wedding

New York, NY, (February 13, 2015) – This weekend, one of the more lavish celebrity parties took place not in LA but in paradise; the official wedding celebrations of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.  The couple chose the picturesque private Island in The Bahamas that Johnny Depp owns in The Exumas for their wedding ceremony and celebrations.  The guest-list included family members but was star-studded with Steven Tyler, Marily Manson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Burton who were among those in attendance.

Johnny Depp has been in love with The Islands Of The Bahamas since filming the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film.  Depp purchased a private island, in The Bahamas 11 years ago.  His Island, Little Hall’s Pond Cay, in The Exumas is 45 acres and includes 6 private beaches named after his children.

Depp and Heard are only the latest celebrities to choose The Bahamas as their destination of choice to celebrate their romantic day.  Other celebrity weddings include Cindy Crawford who married Rande Gerber at the One & Only Ocean Club, and Penelope Cruz who married Javier Bardem at a private home in Nassau.

Celebrities flock to The Bahamas as The Islands have everything to offer, from ideal year-round weather, breathtaking beaches with cerulean water, lavish hotels and amenities, along with the warm Bahamian hospitality. The good news is that couples don’t have to be rich and famous to get married at their dream destination. The Bahamas can fit the needs of all themes and budgets with endless hotel and resort options, restaurant choices and activities for the young at heart. To aid in planning this special occasion, The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism offer 16 different wedding packages to fit any couples desires for planning the perfect destination wedding on The Islands from “Love in the Deep Blue Sea” to “Royal Bliss” ’to “Light up my Life” with prices starting from just $1,300.

The Exumas, where Depp’s island is located in The Bahamas, are an exotic collection of islands, surrounded by sapphire-blue water everywhere, with picturesque white sand beaches. Depp is not the only celebrity to choose The Bahamas as a second home. Others include: Sean Connery, David Copperfield, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Tyler Perry, Bill Gates, Diane Von Furstenburg, Elle MacPherson and Lenny Kravitz. Many celebrities choose to frequent the Bahamas Islands, to enjoy everything the tropical destination has to offer.  Some of the celebrity A-listers that visit The Bahamas regularly includes music industry’s power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, Michael Jordon, Josh and Fergie Duhamel, LeBron James, Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and many more.

For those wanting to experience the luxury of The Islands Of The Bahamas themselves, specifically The Exumas where Johnny Depp’s island is located, The Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism is running a video competition where the winner receives a four day, three night stay at the beautiful Turquoise Cay boutique hotel. The competition, #BahamasWinterWarmUp, is open for submissions until February 20th, 2015. For more information on the #BahamasWinterWarmUp video competition, including details on partners and how to enter, visit Bahamas.com/WinterWarmUp or Facebook.com/TravelBahamas.

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