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Norwegian resumes seasonal service to Martinique

NEW YORK, NY (February 25, 2016) Norwegian, the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline, will resume its seasonal winter service to the French Caribbean following a successful first winter season. Nonstop service from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Logan International Airport (BOS) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Martinique will begin on November 10. Norwegian’s service between the United States and the French Caribbean began last December.

The flights for the 2016 winter season will operate three times per week to each island Martinique from New York, and twice per week to each island Martinique from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. and Boston, respectively.

[…] We are pleased to see the positive response from American travelers who are now enjoying easier access and affordable fares to the Caribbean, and if demand continues to grow, we hope to make this a year-round service.” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer.

“This winter’s air service to Martinique with Norwegian is a great success, and U.S. visitors are enthusiastically discovering this gem in the heart of the Caribbean that is Martinique,” said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “Having Norwegian announce its service to Fort-de-France for 2016/17 is truly exciting! Our U.S. visitors will be able to book early for the next winter season at an excellent rate, while benefiting from modern and comfortable air service. The word is spreading about easy access to Martinique Magnifique, its superb cuisine, magnificent scenery, rich culture and traditions, excellent road network, and generous people, to name a few. We are looking forward to welcoming more and more guests from the United States with open arms.”

Flights to Guadeloupe and Martinique are now available for purchase at norwegian.com/us with fares as low as $49 one-way, including taxes. The lowest available fares to the French Caribbean and any of Norwegian’s destinations can be found by reviewing the low fare calendar.

Recently, Martinique nabbed three 2016 Travvy Awards, earning top honors in the following three categories:

  • Best Cruise Destination, Caribbean
  • Best Culinary Destination, Caribbean
  • Best Tourism Board, The Americas

Presented by travAlliance Media, publishers of TravelPulse.com, Vacation Agent and [email protected], Travvy Awards recognize the highest standards of excellence in the travel and tourism industry. Winners are determined based on votes compiled by more than 30,000 travel agents.

Martinique has been also ranked in the Top 16 places to go in 2016 by Condé Nast Traveler and in Where to go in 2016 by Budget Travel.

“To be recognized in this way by our travel agent partners is truly a special honor,” Wiltord concluded.

Due to the success of Norwegian’s first seasonal service this past winter, flights from New York to Martinique have been extended through the end of April and an additional weekly flight has been added, bringing the total to four weekly flights. Last week, Norwegian also announced nonstop service to Paris from Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York.

For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit www.us.martinique.org .

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Barbados voted best destination by Expedia

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados. Feb. 19, 2016 – Barbados is on a winning streak having been voted Caribbean Best Destination 2016 in recognition of outstanding performance and partnership by Expedia, the largest retailer of travel products in the entire Caribbean.
The award, which was presented before an audience of regional and international industry executives during the recently concluded Caribbean Travel Marketplace in The Bahamas, marked the seventh international award Barbados has received in the past 12 months.

The island was also dubbed Best Destination by Caribbean Journal and third among the islands of the Caribbean by Trip Advisor in 2015.  Telegraph readers also voted Barbados the best destination in the Caribbean for family holidays, best Caribbean beach holiday destination, best destination for activity and adventure holidays, and best destination for wedding and honeymoons.  In addition, the island has been shortlisted in the destination category for the Routes Americas 2016 Marketing Awards.

On receiving the latest award from Expedia, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) CEO, William Griffith, said it was testament to the collaborative efforts local industry partners have been making on behalf of the island. He also stated that it was a clear manifestation of the significant work being done by the entire BTMI leadership team in the major markets of the UK, USA and Canada.

“Each award we have received over the past 12 months has been confirmation for us that we are moving in the right direction with our destination marketing and product development, which continues to be a team effort across the public and private sector.  It is also great momentum as we draw closer to our 50th anniversary of Independence and we have already begun to share the excitement with all of our partners.”

Tourism decision-makers on the island continue to work assiduously toward ensuring the sectors continued recovery, with 2015 being dubbed a record year for air arrivals.  Several hotels underwent renovations in 2015 with new properties such as Sandals and Sugar Bay providing contemporary all-inclusive accommodation.  Efforts are also underway to enhance to variety and quality of product offerings available to cruise and long-stay visitors through the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).  With the winter season in full swing and select hotels partnering with the BTMI to offer 50 percent off through the annual Brilliant Barbados 50 travel sale there certainly is no time like the present to visit the island.

Expedia Inc., which featuress some of he world’s leading online travel brands, including travelocity, Hotels.com, trivago and orbitz, registered $55 billion in bookings and 188.2 million room nights in the first three quarters of 2015.  Demetrius Canton, Director for the Caribbean at Expedia, commended the island’s tourism partners on their well-deserved win. “It’s an honour to confer this award on Barbados.  The island continues to be a leader in providing unforgettable, value-for-money travel experiences and we’ve seen the demand for holidays to Barbados continue to grow.  It is truly well-deserved.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Governor highlights island’s benefits to attract tourism investment

Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the conclusion of Routes Americas in Puerto Rico. Routes Americas unites industry professionals in the aviation, cruise line and tourism sectors, focused on developing new air routes to the Island. This event allows Puerto Rico to showcase new airline opportunities, such as the newly opened MRO Lufthansa Technik, to continue to position the country as the Caribbean’s air hub with the largest airport.

“In Puerto Rico we fully identify with one of the main objectives of this organization, to join efforts for the common good. This great opportunity unites various sectors of the industry to increase air and maritime traffic throughout the Caribbean region,” said García Padilla.

As efforts have continued to increase on-and-off the Island, the tourism sector has achieved a number of accomplishments. “In the last fiscal year we added approximately 500 hotels rooms to our offerings, which resulted in a 73% hotel occupancy rate, a 2% increase throughout the year. In the past three years, 829 rooms were added, representing a 54% increase compared to 2012. With the arrival of new airlines, including Air Europa, Condor and Norwegian Air, we now offer direct flights to major European cities such as Madrid, Frankfurt and Oslo,” explained the governor.

Puerto Rico has established itself as one of the most competitive markets in the region, with significant investment on the island in specialized industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics and information technology, among others. “Countless companies have realized that Puerto Rico is much more than tax incentives and good conditions for business development. All of them know that those who invest capital and create jobs on the Island, will gain a government partner willing to work with them hand-in-hand for the success of the company and for the betterment of Puerto Rico. It’s a question of uniting efforts,” concluded García Padilla.

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New developments to add over 700 rooms on Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia (February 18, 2016) – Saint Lucia tourism officials are preparing to welcome over 700 new hotel rooms to the island’s accommodations in 2016, along with a new marketing campaign and push for new island investment.

Rex resorts has re-opened the 110 room Papillon Hotel after completing extensive renovations as an all-inclusive four-star property in February 2016 with Air Canada Vacations as the exclusive tour operator out of Canada. The Papillon Hotel is located adjacent to the St. Lucian and Royal by rex resorts hotels on Reduit Beach near Rodney Bay.

Also set to open this year, the Harbor Club on the Rodney Bay Marina will feature 115 four-star accommodations with a number of amenities that include two restaurants, lounges, a full-service spa, gym, pool recreational concept and 4,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. Adjacent to the Harbor Club is the recently completed Dive Saint Lucia, one of the premier scuba diving centers in the Eastern Caribbean featuring state of the art facilities at the complex just south of the Rodney Bay Marina.

In late 2016, Royalton Luxury Resorts will add to its rapidly expanding portfolio of vacation experiences with the upscale Royalton Saint Lucia near Cap Estate. The elegant resort features 361 luxurious rooms, eight restaurants and six bars, world class spa, onsite splash park, conference space and an exclusive 94-suite, adults-only hotel within a resort called Hideaway.

“This overdue hotel boom adds much-needed inventory to meet the demands of our key source markets” said Louis Lewis, Director Tourism. “Tourism growth is a priority, and Invest Saint Lucia and the newly opened Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Office will continue to seek new investment and development for the island.”

Lewis reported that the U.S., the island’s leading market with more than 44 percent of arrivals in 2015, realized a seven percent growth in visitors compared to 2014. Saint Lucia saw six record-breaking months in 2015 – January, February, March, April, June and October – for a total of nearly 345,000 visitors for the year and an overall increase in stay-over arrivals of two percent, following a six percent rise in arrivals in 2014.

“Partnership is key to the continued success of Saint Lucia’s marketing efforts,” said Lewis. “We work closely with our hotel and product partners, travel agent partners, tour operators and airlines, to harness ideas and resources for the benefit of the overall destination.” He added that the Saint Lucia Tourist Board will unveil a new marketing campaign in the second half of 2016 with plans to refresh the brand with new collateral and photography.

Saint Lucia was recognized as “Best Honeymoon Island in the World,” one of the “Top 20 Islands in the World,” and one of the “Most Romantic Islands in the World” by the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards. Six of the island’s resorts were also distinguished as “Top 40 Resorts in the Caribbean” by Condé Nast Traveler readers. The growing reputation of the diverse hotels, and the island of Saint Lucia as a sought-after destination was further strengthened by the more than 50 awards and accolades received by resorts across the island, including recognition from Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best List and Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List to the coveted “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” by World Travel Awards.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1-800-456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit http://stlucianow.com/.

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Destination rebranding services for Dominica

Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI) from consulting, marketing and creative agencies to undertake activities towards a destination rebranding.  The services required include research and creative services to help better define and communicate the brand personality, brand identity, brand essence and brand promise of destination Dominica.

Expressions of Interest, which should be no more than 3 pages, should describe the company’s set up, capabilities and experience in providing the necessary research and creative services and reasons why it should be included in the shortlist of companies to be invited to tender by Discover Dominica Authority.

The shortlisted firms will receive an invitation and Request for Proposal from Discover Dominica Authority to take part in a Competitive Selection Process for the contract to provide the Destination Rebranding Services.

Expressions of Interest should be submitted to Mr. Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism, Discover Dominica Authority at [email protected] and copy Monique Jacob at [email protected] no later than 23rd February, 2016.

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Barbados announces 2015 best year on record for tourism

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. February 1, 2016.  Barbados’ tourism industry is on a strong growth path with 2015 being a record year.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, in an update on the state of the industry, noted that 2015 was a “turnaround year” with many of the vital signs showing steady improvement.

Long stay arrivals grew by 13.7 percent to reach 591,892, the highest on record.  The UK remained Barbados’ no. 1 source market contributing 37 percent of business with a year on year increase of 14.1 percent.  The USA market, which represented 25 percent of international visitor arrivals, grew by 25 percent. The Caribbean & Latin America and Canadian markets, which equated to 15.9 percent and 12.6 percent of total long stay arrivals, grew by 13.1 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Barbados’ growth strategy focused heavily on the diversification of their source markets, including establishing new gateways out of Boston via JetBlue; Bogota, Columbia through Avianca; and a new Thomas Cook service out of Glasgow.  The island’s tourism industry also benefitted in 2015 from the introduction of a twice weekly Delta service out of Atlanta and New York, and the switch by Air Canada to a B777 aircraft.

In addition, Barbados shone in the region as the first international destination to receive JetBlue’s new Mint Service, which has since been extended to a once weekly year-round service.  The island also copped best destination awards from Expedia, Caribbean Journal and the Telegraph.

The minister also revealed that the new all-inclusive Sandals Barbados, as well as the new Sugar Bay all-inclusive resort, contributed approximately 380 more rooms to the island’s room inventory during the year and contributed in a great way to the increase in new long stay arrivals.  The Sandals property is set to construct an additional 220 rooms in 2016, while the new Beaches resort will commence construction at the site of the Almond Beach Resort later this year.

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Isla Verde tourism to strengthen as ESJ Towers completes renovation

Isla Verde, an iconic high-density tourist area in Puerto Rico, is projected to see a boost in tourism as the transformation of ESJ Towers is finalized. The renovation of ESJ Towers to ESJ Azul, is one of the pillars proposed to revitalize Isla Verde beach. An $8 million investment made toward remodeling the property will provide a total of 450 rooms for visitors.

“The opening of ESJ Azul, as well as new tourism projects, represent an awakening in this area which is fundamental in strengthening the tourism industry in Puerto Rico,” said Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. “These projects will create a new edge on innovation, entertainment and life to this iconic neighborhood in Isla Verde.”

New projects on the island include the remodeling of ESJ Tower, El Noir and El Verde, which have been great investments in the tourism industry and have created nearly 1,000 jobs, resulting in a boost to the economy of Puerto Rico.

This new initiative, known as the rebirth of Isla Verde, is led by Keith St. Clair, a veteran of the tourism and travel industry. With the opening of ESJ Azul, the initial project of the new vision for Isla Verde, St. Clair compliments the functions of a first-class hotel with excellent attractions, services and housing, positioning Puerto Rico as a destination.

“Since I came to Puerto Rico, I have enjoyed the advantages of investing and living on the island, and I am convinced that tourism is one of the key factors to economic recovery and growth. This multi-billion dollar investment made on ESJ marks the beginning of a new stage in Isla Verde, and allows new facilities to continue to promote the tourism sector,” said St. Clair.

“This rehabilitation will provide more variety and attractive offers to visitors, resulting in a great opportunity to give the tourism industry a diverse and dynamic leadership role in the country,” said Rivera Rocafort.

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