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Archive for April, 2015

Courtyard Marriott is coming to Curaçao (and other developments on the island)

Willemstad, Curaçao – April 2015 – The tiny, yet bustling island of Curaçao, located in the Southern Caribbean, shares its latest news and events:

ISLAND NEWS
  • New Direct Service From Toronto This Summer

For the first time ever, Canadians can travel direct to Curaçao from Toronto via Air Canada during the summer season.   Air Canada flies nonstop to Curaçao on Fridays with an 8:00 a.m. departure from Toronto and a 3:15 p.m. return flight from Curaçao.  For more information, visit vacations.aircanada.com/Curacao.

  • Curaçao Unveils New Winery

Located near Hato International Airport, Curaçao recently opened the island’s first-ever winery and vineyard.  Run by the Visscher family, the vineyard has over 2,000 plants on two acres of land, which will eventually be expanded to 25 acres.  The wine will be harvested from the island’s soil and will be available to bottle and sell next year.  In the meantime, visitors can enjoy tastings and special events at the winery, open everyday from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. with happy hour Fridays at 5:00 p.m.

  • New Shopping Center Opening in May

Sambil Curaçao, slated to open in May 2015 and located between Willemstad and Curaçao International Airport, is an upscale shopping center being built and operated by the Sambil Group.  The new shopping center, designed in a fish-shape, encompasses over 100,000 square feet and will feature 180 establishments, including 156 shops, 8 movie theaters, 4 restaurants, and a food court offering a variety of local and international cuisines. For more information, visit www.sambilmall.com/Curacao.

  • IGLTA Awards Curaçao With ‘Destination Pioneer’ Honor

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) recently 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 a substantial number of hotels and attractions with IGLTA memberships, which reflects the island’s “Live and Let Live” philosophy to embrace all travelers.  The awards ceremony took place in Los Angeles at IGLTA’s 32nd Annual Global Convention, where the island was honored alongside influential LGBT advocates. For more information on LGBT travel in Curaçao, visit www.gaycuracao.com .

HOTEL NEWS
  • New Courtyard by Marriott To Open in Curaçao

Marriott International has announced plans to open the first Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Willemstad.   The hotel, set to open in 2017, will feature 177 rooms and will be situated just a few blocks from the existing cruise ship terminal.  The property will be part of a mixed-used development that will include retail space, an entertainment area, three restaurants and a casino. The hotel will feature the brand’s signature business lobby, a coffee shop, an outdoor pool, fitness center and flexible meeting area.

  • Baoase Luxury Resort Debuts New Villa-Style Suites

The island’s five-star upscale property, Baoase Luxury Resort, has unveiled ten new exclusive suites. The new villa-style suites include a private infinity pool and garden with a spectacular view over the Caribbean Sea as well as either direct access to a private beach or the resort’s beach. Constructed of natural stone, these secluded one-level luxury suites offer the perfect amount of privacy with unparalleled luxury offerings. For more information, visit www.baoase.com.

  •  Acoya Hotel Partners With BLVD and Mambo Beach Club

The island’s newest resort, Acoya Hotel Suites and Villas, recently signed an agreement allowing its guests access to Sea Aquarium Beach and use of Mambo Beach Club’s lounge chairs at no additional cost. The Curaçao Beach Boulevard, known as the BLVD, is an expansive strip combining shops, dining, and entertainment along one of the island’s most popular beaches, Sea Aquarium Beach. For more information, visit www.acoyacuracao.com.

  • Hilton Curaçao Undergoes Second Phase of its Renovation

Following refurbishments to its hotel rooms in 2013, Hilton Curaçao recently began the second phase of renovations to its lobby and hotel bar.   The property’s entrance signage and Bligh’s Bar will also be entirely refurbished to reflect a more contemporary look and feel, and are expected to be completed in Spring 2015. Additional renovations will also take place in the third quarter of this year and will include the property’s restaurants and gym facilities.  For more information, visit www.hiltoncuracaoresort.com.

  • Renaissance Curaçao Launches New Dining Experience

Renaissance Curaçao, located in downtown Willemstad, has given its CRU Steakhouse & Wine Bar a makeover, transforming it into Xquisit, a dining experience with a new modern concept. Xquisit will offer a three-course prix fixe menu of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts along with a separate steak and wine menu.  Menus will be changed seasonally, with sample dishes such as Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Truffle Oil, Stuffed Pork Loin with Brie cheese, and Ratatouille. For more information, visit www.renaissancecuracao.com.

OPERATOR NEWS
  •  Dive Bus Offering Free PADI Dive Courses

In celebration of its 10-year birthday, the Dive Bus is offering free PADI dive courses, complimentary diving excursions, cake and more throughout 2015! Lead by friendly and experienced PADI dive professionals, the Dive Bus specializes in shore diving at the island’s best dive spots. For more information and details on how to win prizes, visit www.the-dive-bus.com.

EVENTS
  • International Drag Fest

Celebrating its 44th year anniversary, the International Drag Fest will take place April 28- May 2, 2015 at the Curaçao International Raceway in Willemstad. The festival will include ten different automobile classes and five motorcycle classes competing in traditional drag races.  For more information, visit www.curacaodrag.com.

  • International BlueSeas Festival

Following the success of the renowned Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, the island will host its inaugural Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival this May 7 – 9, 2015. The festival will be a celebration of traditional and gentrified jazz music, and will feature a variety of international musicians, including the legendary Original Blues Brothers, Buddy Guy, and emerging artists such as Kat Riggins, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and Moreland & Arbuckle. For more information, visit www.curacaoblueseasfestival.com.

  • Viva La Musica Latina (Latin Music Festival)

Taking place May 29 – 30, 2015 in Willemstad, Viva Musica Latina Curaçao is a Latin music festival that will feature some of the biggest names in the industry.  Performers will include Jorge Celedón, Alberto Barros, Olga Tañón, Gilberto Santa Rosa, the Guaco Group Venezuela, among others. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit TicketsCaribbean.com

  • International Tourism Safety & Security Conference

Held at Curaçao’s World Trade Center, the island will host this year’s International Tourism Safety and Security Conference on June 24 – 26, 2015.  The goal of the conference is to enhance awareness of tourism safety and security, and the theme of this year’s conference is “Working Together to Provide a Safer Caribbean Tourism Destination.”  The conference will feature speakers from around the world discussing issues, such as airline securities, tourism police, cruise security, and human trafficking. For more information, visit www.curacao.com/ssc.

  • Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival

Now in its sixth year, the popular North Sea Jazz Festival is back for another run on   September 3 – 5, 2015 at the World Trade Center near Piscadera Bay in Willemstad.  A wide range of internationally renowned artists were recently announced for this three-day festival, which will include performances by John Legend, Enrique Iglesias, the Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Wyclef Jean, Randy Newman and more.   Another major headliner will be announced in the coming weeks.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.curacaonorthseajazz.com/en/. 

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World Happiness Report names Trinidad & Tobago as the happiest in the Caribbean

Port of Spain, Trinidad – April 28, 2015 – The numbers are in and Trinidad & Tobago has been named the “happiest” Caribbean nation yet again.  With its vibrant lifestyle, dynamic culture, booming business center, strong government and, of course, largest Carnival celebration in the Caribbean, it is no surprise that the dual-island nation leads the way in happiness. According to the World Happiness Report from the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released on April 23, 2015, the destination ranked highest in happiness in the Caribbean and 41st in the world.

Trinidad & Tobago’s flourishing culinary scene and year round festivals, combined with local steel pan and soca music and picturesque beaches, bring out the happiness in both locals and visitors alike.  Whether sampling world-renowned street food on “The Avenue” [Ariapita Avenue], “wining” to the music at cultural and food festivals, getting a taste of adventure in the mountains of Trinidad or unwinding on Pigeon Point beach in Tobago, Trinbagonians have plenty of reasons to smile.  Additionally, with 15 public holidays last year, Trinidad & Tobago is among the top ten countries in the world for the number of public holidays.

The World Happiness Report aims to help country leaders recognize the importance of happiness and well-being for the success of the world and sustainable development.  Researchers examine 11 areas essential to happiness and well-being, including health, education, local government, personal security, income and overall satisfaction with life. Trinidad & Tobago was also the top-ranked Caribbean nation in the previous Happiness Report, which was published in 2013.

For more information on Trinidad & Tobago visit www.goTrinidadandTobago.com  or www.visittobago.gov.tt.

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U.S. arrivals to Trinidad and Tobago up 20 Percent in 2015

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – April 14, 2015 – With a 20 percent increase in visitor arrivals from the U.S., the first quarter of 2015 illustrates strong growth for Trinidad & Tobago’s tourism sector. The U.S. market makes up nearly 40 percent of all travelers to the destination and has shown the largest growth over the same period in 2014. Spearheaded by Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Development Company’s (TDC) U.S. public relations and marketing firm, Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications (CAMC), aggressive efforts have been set in place to position the dual-island nation as an attractive destination to U.S. travelers who are seeking an authentic cultural experience.

“This increase is very promising and we have embarked on a number of activities with a view to continuing this trend for the rest of the year and for years to come,” explains Warren Solomon, General Manager of Marketing at the Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Development Company. “We are pleased with the continuous aggressive efforts and results our marketing and PR team has garnered and plan to ramp up our campaigns in this market as the year progresses.”

As part of the ongoing process to showcase the destination in the coming months, PR and marketing events include niche press trips, promotional roadshows and trade events. Sponsored by Trinidad & Tobago Convention Bureau, the TDC will target meeting planners in May with presentations taking place in Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York City as part of the initiative to highlight the diversity of the destination to accommodate groups for meetings and conventions. Also in May, Trinidad & Tobago will host a culinary press trip to highlight the complete, rich gastronomic heritage of the destination. Marketing partnerships have been strengthened with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), while a Trinidad & Tobago Travel Agent Specialist Program will be launched in May. The TDC is also partnering with its stakeholders and its Consulate General in New York to host “Trinidad & Tobago Day in Manhattan” in July.

For more information on Trinidad & Tobago, visit www.gotrinidadandtobago.com.

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Bahamians become North Pole explorers

Two Bahamians are literally sitting on top of the world and they took The Bahamas’ flag with them.

Earlier this week, Mark Roberts and Shaune Adderley made the journey to the North Pole – the first Bahamians to ever to take on the courageous challenge.

“I was invited by a friend who has lived in The Bahamas for a number of years and he with a group of New Zealanders were going to the North Pole. They had been to the South Pole and he called me up and asked me if I would be interested in going because two of the seats that he had filled were vacated,” Mr. Roberts said.

“For two months I said ‘no it’s probably not a good idea’ and then he said ‘I feel bad for inviting you because I knew a Bahamian would not be able to cut the mustard.’ And that started the ball rolling in that direction that we were going to go and take on the challenge and have some fun with it.”

He added that he is proud to take The Bahamas flag on top of the world.

“I can’t imagine anything that I would be prouder to do. I actually felt bad for saying no for two months. I should have said yes earlier so I could have trained more because the opportunity to take The Bahamas up to the top of the world is a once in a lifetime and I am over the moon about it,” Mr. Roberts said.

The average temperature on the North Pole is a blistering -20 F on a warm day to -80 F with wind chills.

Mr. Roberts said he and his partner prepared for the daunting task by going through a guide and checklist.

“You can’t really train for the cold. We were fortunate because Tropic Seafood let us come into their freezers for two days worth of training so that we could test our gear. The critical thing we could do is purchase the right equipment and the right gear. We would have seven layers on and we did a lot of physical training. Our longest gym workouts were four hours and we did the elliptical machine because we will be skiing 12 hours a day to make 120 hour journey to get to the North Pole,” he said.

Mr. Adderley said Mr. Roberts pushed him to take on the challenge.

“I like the experience. It’s something on my bucket list. Something I would like to do. I know there are not a lot of Bahamians that would not get to do it. So it was nice for me to get invited to go there,” he said.

“It makes me feel proud to do this for my country. When I put my mind to something I like to go through with it. My family is all ups in arms. The only thing that really concerns me is the cold because as a Bahamian I have never been in that type of cold. So I am glad we have the layers and we have been in the freezer. I think it’s a mind thing.”

The duo first flew to London to begin their journey. Then it was off to Ausland, Norway and then to Russia.

They arrived at North Pole on Friday morning and will be there for seven days. To follow their journey visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bahamas-North-Pole-Explorers.

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Bahamas even closer to Florida with new non-stop flights

Nassau, Bahamas – April 17, 2015 Paradise is even closer with two new non-stop flights for the summer between Florida and Eleuthera and Abaco, two popular destinations in The Islands Of The Bahamas. Wildcat Touring, the leading air charter provider for basketball and other college team sports travels, announced they are introducing two non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport to North Eleuthera Airport and Marsh Harbor Airport in the Abaco Islands.

From endless pineapple fields to white and pink-sand beaches to secluded coves and miles of coastline, Eleuthera defines The Bahamas. Eleuthera is an island of casual sophistication, housing isolated communities, well-developed resorts, rocky bluffs, low-lying wetlands and massive coral reefs that create magnificent backdrops.

The Abacos are a group of Islands and Cays in The Bahamas that form a 120 mile-long chain stretching over 650 square miles. Calm waters, warms breezes and panoramic beauty make these islands a boating and sailing paradise. For those that prefer to explore the land, they will find championship golf courses on Treasure Cay, charming colonial towns on Green Turtle and Elbow Cays, and countless hotels, restaurants and bars to choose from throughout The Abacos. There is something for everyone in this paradise.

Flights, commencing in May, will operate twice a week to Eleuthera and 4 days a week to Abaco Islands.

Ft. Lauderdale to Eleuthera
Thursday: Departure: 11:00 am, Arrival: 12:10 pm
Sunday: Departure: 4:00 pm, Arrival: 5:10pm

Eleuthera to Ft. Lauderdale
Thursday: Departure: 1:00 pm, Arrival 2:10 pm
Sunday: Departure 6:00 pm, Arrival 7:10 pm

Ft, Lauderdale to Marsh Harbor
Wednesday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday
Departure: 11:00 am, Arrival: 12:00 pm

Marsh Harbor to Ft. Lauderdale
Wednesday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday
Departure: 1:00 pm, Arrival: 2:00 pm

The addition of these two non-stop flights to The Bahamas increases the number of non-stop destinations in The Islands Of The Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to 9. With flight times less than 2 hours to any destination from Florida, getting to any destination of choice in The Bahamas is even easier.

To learn more information and book your tickets today visit: WildcatTouring.net.

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South Florida travel agents learn more about Trindad & Tobago

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – April 16, 2015 – A group of nearly 75 travel agents from The Travel Industry Association of Florida attended a presentation and dinner hosted by Tourism Development Company (TDC) on April 14 to learn more about the twin island nation and discuss selling points for their clients. The agents also had the chance to mingle with guest of honor, Trinidad & Tobago Consul General Dr. Anil Ramnanan. The event was coordinated by the TDC’s United States’ marketing and sales partner, The Travel Marketing Network (TTMN), with an energetic evening that included authentic Trini cuisine, pulsating soca music and prize giveaways.

The evening kicked off with a welcome reception that included a chance to meet partners from Caribbean Airlines and Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort in Tobago. Following the welcome reception, attendees were treated to an authentic Trini dinner, complete with curried shrimp and roti. The presentation entailed the history of the islands, key selling points and a brief speech by each of the on-island partners. The evening concluded with prize giveaways that included: Angostura Rum; a guaranteed spot on the culinary and culture FAM trip in the fall; and the grand prize: tickets for two people on Caribbean Airlines from South Florida to Tobago with a 3-night stay at Magdalena Grand.

The TDC’s U.S. Public Relations agency, Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications (CAMC) worked with local journalists from Recommend, Caribbean Today, Caribbean Journal and Uncommon Caribbean to cover the event. The journalists also had the opportunity to meet and interview Trinidad & Tobago Consul General Dr. Ramnanan during the event.

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Oceania Regatta’s inaugural call to Grenada

(St. George’s, Grenada) 16th April, 2015 – The Oceania Regatta berthed for the first time in St. George’s on Thursday, 16th April, making this the last of eleven inaugural cruise calls to Grenada during the 2014/2015 cruise season. Six hundred and sixty three (663) cruise passengers, mostly from North America were greeted by warm smiles from the Grenada Tourism Authority and musical entertainment.

A twelve-hour stay, beginning at 7:00am allowed cruise passengers to tour the tropical island, dive the clear waters, and experience the magical glow of the sunset.

Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique is well positioned as a cruise destination. The relatively short distance between the beaches and the rainforests give cruisers a balanced experience. The tri-island state is also ideal for historical tours, local cuisines, and shopping.

There are three remaining cruise calls for the 2014/2015 season that ends with the Silver Whisper on Saturday, 25th April, 2015.

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