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Archive for May, 2017

Air Canada to service SVG

KINGSTOWN, ST.VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, May 3, 2017– Air Canada today announced St. Vincent and the Grenadines as one of six new routes for the airline’s winter season. A release issued by Air Canada stated that weekly flights from Toronto to St.Vincent and the Grenadines are now available for purchase at aircanada.com and through travel agents.

According to Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada release “Air Canada is continuing its strategic, global expansion with a diverse range of exciting new non-stop routes this winter to Australia, South America, the Caribbean and the United States,”. The airline says its first long-haul international scheduled service to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the other five destinations, “offers new choices for travellers looking to escape Canadian winters”.

CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, Glen Beache expressed his elation with the announcement stating that “we are happy to welcome an airline such as Air Canada which has a rich history, to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  We look forward to a successful partnership which will enable both entities to grow.”

The announcement from Air Canada comes as the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority continues on its quest to attract international carriers to the Argyle International Airport (AIA) which was officially opened on February 14th, 2017. The AIA boasts a 2,743 metre (9,000 foot) runway, 45 metres (150 feet) wide and is designed to accommodate aircraft as large as the Boeing 747-400s. The 171,000 square foot terminal building is designed to handle 1.5 million passengers annually, more than five times the capacity at E.T. Joshua. The AIA is further enhanced with jet bridges, lounges, restaurants, bars and other shops, all designed to provide all passengers with an experience in keeping with international standards.

Tourism has been the main foreign exchange earner for St.Vincent and the Grenadines over the last three decades and it is expected that the international airport will increase earnings in this sector.  The Argyle International Airport is also expected to increase accessibility to this multi island destination, attracting direct flights from North America and Europe.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Island Update: What’s new in Curacao

WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – May 2017 – The Southern Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao not only recently graced the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017, the most widely read magazine issue in the world, but this spring, the tiny, yet bustling, nation is upping the ante with a new JetBlue flight schedule, hotel renovations, experiential packages, island-wide promotions, and a full calendar of highly anticipated events. Read below to find out what’s new in Curaçao.

ISLAND NEWS

  • Curaçao Featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017

The colorful ABC island of Curaçao set the stage for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017. Curaçao’s striking blue waters are prominently featured in the magazine, which is on stands now through the end of May. The two-week shoot, which was photographed by veteran photographer Ben Watts, included top models Vita Sidorkina, Rose Bertram, Samantha Hoopes, Barbara Palvin and Myla Dalbesio. The crew stayed at Avila Beach Hotel and explored many of the island’s highlights, including Playa Porto Mari, Jan Thiel, Shete Boka and more. For more information, visit www.si.com/swimsuit/2017/curacao.

  •  JetBlue Adjusting Current Flight Schedule for New York to Curaçao Route

JetBlue is adjusting its current flight schedule to Curaçao. Starting on June 19, travelers can fly nonstop from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Curaçao’s Hato International Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Currently, the airline flies non-stop from JFK to Curaçao on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the trip takes approximately 4.5 hours. In addition to the New York routes, North American travelers can fly direct to the island from Toronto, Miami and Charlotte. For more information, visit www.curacao.com.

  •  Island-Wide Discounts for Summer Travel

In celebration of the Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association’s (CHATA) 50th anniversary, travelers can save on travel to Curaçao this summer with exclusive island-wide offers at more than 15 hotels. Travelers can choose from 50th anniversary-themed savings at colorful boutique properties in Pietermaai to laid-back resorts tucked away on the island’s western side, with sales ranging from $50 off room rates, to $50 resort credits to use on dining and spa treatments. For more information or to book, visit www.curacao.com/chata50.

 HOTEL NEWS

  • Scuba Lodge Completes Renovation

The vibrantly colored Scuba Lodge & Ocean Suites in the island’s trendy, up-and-coming area of Pietermaai has renovated one of its five buildings to include six new Superior Rooms. The new rooms include king-size beds, rainfall showers, and small kitchenettes. The 28-room boutique hotel, which is within walking distance of downtown Willemstad and the Queen Emma Bridge, also updated its guest check-in and reception area. For more information, visit www.scubalodge.com.

  • Hilton Curaçao Upgrades Meeting Spaces

The Hilton Curaçao recently upgraded its meetings spaces with new carpeting and aesthetic finishes. The beachfront property has more than 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including an intimate boardroom for smaller meetings and a large ballroom able to accommodate groups of more than 400. Situated on Piscadera Bay, the resort also features two of Curaçao’s largest beaches, a PADI scuba diving center and on-property casino. For more information, click here or email: [email protected]

  • New Additions at Rancho El Sobrino

Rancho El Sobrino Resort & Restaurant on the island’s rugged west coast has completed its three new studios, which each accommodate two guests and feature wood floors and a modern glass shower. The rooms also include a small kitchen with a gas stove, kettle, refrigerator, coffee machine and more. In addition to the new studios, the property recently began offering car rentals for guests to explore the island. Rentals begin at $40.00/day and guests can pick them up at the hotel or at Hato International Airport. For more information, visit www.ranchoelsobrino.com.

  • Royal Sea Aquarium Resort Introduces New Happy Hours and Breakfast Bar

The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort recently added a new poolside breakfast bar for guests to start their day on the right foot with classic favorites like omelets, pancakes, potatoes, bacon, French toast, fresh fruit and tropical island smoothies. Ideally located on its own private island, the resort also now offers Royal Happy Hours and a Tuesday Night Loko Party featuring eclectic cocktails, a fire show, live entertainment, and Dutch “Dushi” Waffles for dessert. For more information, visit www.royalseaquariumresort.com.

 DINING NEWS

  •  Koko’s Restaurant Opens on Jan Thiel Beach

Jan Thiel Beach recently welcomed Koko’s to its roster of beachside restaurants. The open-air hangout spot serves up a delicious selection of street food, including pulled pork flatbreads, Philly cheesesteaks, a slider trio, and more. The restaurant also offers fresh fruit smoothies, healthy shakes, juices, and cocktails. For more information, visit www.janthielbeach.com.

  • Willemstad Welcomes Shelterrock Paradise

Shelterrock Paradise, a colorful restaurant just outside of downtown Willemstad recently opened its doors. The restaurant boasts breezy wind sails, decorative wooden tables, vibrant color accents and incredible water views for enjoying the sunset. The small eatery, which is already becoming a local favorite, serves up island delights, including BBQ chicken and ribs, fried plantains, peas and rice, fresh fish and more. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/shelterrockparadise.

  • Williburger Opens in Banda Bou

The latest addition to the Curaçao culinary scene is WILLIBURGER in Banda Bou on Curaçao’s west side. The new restaurant recently introduced its very own “kabritu burger,” which is a spicy goat burger. The innovative dish, which is typically served as a stew, has been craftily created into a tasty burger. A portion of the food proceeds go to support talented children and encourage youth entrepreneurship. WILLIBURGER is still in the process of perfecting the dish and plans to expand its “kabritu burger” to various restaurants around the island. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Williburgerclub.

DIVING NEWS

  • Trunkdivers to Expand Guided Dive Options

This month, Trunkdivers, one of the island’s dive operators, will add three new sites to its guided dive options. The first will take divers to see the caves of Watamula, an area known for its volcanic rock, before exploring a steep drop-off. The dive concludes at Playa Gepi, a small sandy cove on the island’s west coast. Another new guided dive option for advanced open-water certified divers is at North Shore, a site that sits 70-80 feet below sea level. Trunkdivers will also now offer a special archaeological dive in Sint Annabaai upon request. For more information, visit www.trunkdivers.com.

  • Hilton and Caribbean Sea Sports Launch Dive Package

The Hilton Curaçao has partnered with Caribbean Sea Sports to offer a special four-night dive package, which includes accommodations, daily breakfast and WiFi, along with six dives. Travelers will enjoy a two-tank dive each morning to some of Curaçao’s 65 distinct dive sites and will be provided with a tank, weight belt and BCD. The package starts at $530/person and is valid for booking now through June 30, 2017 with travel from May 1-July 31, 2017. To book, call 5999-462-5000 ext. 6011, or email: [email protected]@hilton.com.

  • Substation Curaçao Aids Medical Research

Substation Curaçao has partnered with Sirenas MD, a California-based pharmaceutical company that researches new medicines by studying marine biodiversity. Together, the organizations recently completed a trip to Klein Curaçao in search of new sponges that contain chemical entities that modulate human immune response. The dives were completed in late March and ranged between 300 and 1,000 feet. The crew aboard the mini submarine discovered several new sponges, which are currently being researched in the company’s San Diego facility. For more information, visit www.substation-curacao.com.

  • CURious 2 Dive Offers New Dive and Lionfish Experience

CURious 2 Dive now offers a two-tank dive every Thursday to East Point, a pristine reef on the island’s eastern tip that’s home to a school of tarpon, sharks, eagle rays, barracuda, and turtles. Once the divers resurface, the guides will teach participants how to clean any lionfish that were caught, which can then be sampled at The Pier, a restaurant in the Jan Thiel area. For more information, visit www.curious2dive.com.

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Barbados targeting families for summer with new campaign

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s (BTMI) summer campaign, ‘Brilliant Barbados: Kids Stay and Play Free’, is placing a strong emphasis on added value for kids as they promote Barbados as an ideal destination for families.

“Summer is traditionally a heavy family travel period for us,” reported William ‘Billy’ Griffith, CEO of the BTMI. “In response to that, we’ve developed this campaign in association with key partners here, including hotels and attractions, as we aim to be more competitive to the family audience.”

Under this campaign, kids 16-years-old or younger stay free in participating hotels and play free at participating attractions when accompanied by at least one paying adult. The offer is valid for travel dates between May 1 and October 31, 2017.

“We currently have over 50 accommodations participating in the summer campaign, across several categories,” Griffith added. “From all-inclusive options such as Savannah Beach Hotel on the South Coast, to luxury hotels such as The Crane in the East, as well as a number of villas, condos and apartments; we made sure we are appealing to every class of traveller.”

Rudy Grant, CEO of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BTHA), lauded the BTMI for working with the BHTA to develop the summer campaign. “Joint marketing actions by the BHTA and the BTMI, the marketing arm of Barbados’ tourism industry, creates the ideal partnership for the development of the tourism industry. It allows us to execute comprehensive, cohesive programmes that will appeal to our target markets. The variety of accommodation properties participating in this programme illustrates the diversity of the Barbados tourism product, and creates a better opportunity to entice diverse families looking for the perfect summer holiday. Programmes like these help to reduce the seasonality we normally experience in the hotel sector.”

Entry to several attractions is also being offered to families to enrich their stay. Kids and their parents can enjoy a unique underwater experience in the Atlantis submarine, tee off at Barbados Golf Club, and explore the rugged side of Barbados on an Island Safari, just to name a few.

Strategically enhancing with digital

“We are already marketing the Brilliant Barbados campaign aggressively in all of our international markets through our traditional channels; however we are also supplementing these efforts with a strategic, integrated digital marketing component,” Griffith announced.

The BTMI launched a microsite, www.brilliantbarbados.com, which houses all of the information for the campaign, including descriptions of participating accommodations and attractions. Visitors can discover the uniqueness of destination Barbados, and follow the steps to book their stay.

The campaign is also supported by other digital initiatives including robust social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, as well as newsletters and online advertising in prime digital real estate.

“As consumers’ booking habits continue to diversify, we are charged with ensuring we remain competitive, particularly in the digital field. Barbados was recently ranked number one in the English-speaking Caribbean for overall Tourism and Travel Competitiveness in a biennial report published by the World Economic Forum. One of our strongest performing areas was Prioritization of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness, where we ranked number eight in the world. We also had a particularly strong performance in ICT readiness compared to the rest of the region. We therefore see investing in digital as a tactical means of honing our strengths as a destination,” Griffith said.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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