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Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Minister presents impressive cruise facilities masterplan to cruise executives

(New York, NY) – January 30, 2017 After three days of discussions and presentations to cruise industry decision-makers in South Florida, Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Honorable Asot  A. Michael is “very encouraged” about the future of his country’s cruise sector. The Minister’s optimism follows his recent visit to South Florida (January 25 – 27) during which time he met with several cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC, Holland America, Seaborn, and Princess Cruises. The Minister and his team also received valuable feedback from the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

In commenting on his meetings, Minister Michael said, “The cruise executives and itinerary planners were impressed with our vision for improving how Antigua will be welcoming their ships and passengers, and their feedback has helped us to better understand their specific needs for achieving sustainable growth. I am confident that we have developed the right masterplan, and it is now up to our Government to identify additional financing to complete what we started last year when we successfully implemented critically needed marine improvements at St. John’s Harbour and the Heritage Pier.”

The Tourism Minister reported that very experienced cruise industry leaders like Adam Goldstein, Rick Sasso, Robin Lindsay, Carlos Torres Navarro and Michele Paige were impressed with the fact that, although the Antiguan cruise-sector masterplan had already made significant implementation progress, the Minister and his team were still open to feedback and suggestions for improvement. The cruise decision-makers were particularly interested in the possibility of creating a new beach-focused, outer-island style of cruise destination on the sister island of Barbuda. According to the Minister, this piece of the masterplan is designed for Barbuda to deliver an authentic and unprecedented experience for an Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary and to better position Barbuda on the regional cruise map.

Minister Michael was accompanied at his cruise industry meetings by his cruise-sector advisor, Ricky Skerritt, Tourism Authority Board member Mr. Nathan Dundas, Antigua & Barbuda Port Authority CEO Darwin Telemaque, and representatives of the BEA-Meridian design and construction team who are responsible for designing and constructing the masterplan.

In 2016, under the leadership of Minister Michael, the Antigua & Barbuda Government commenced an ambitious cruise facilities and downtown development program. To date, some US $50 Million has already been spent on the harbour and lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier to allow for the berthing of larger ships up to a Quantum-class size. The arrival of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ on December 2, 2016 heralded the start of what is expected to be a new growth phase for the Antiguan cruise sector. The Cruise-sector Masterplan calls for further dredging of the approach channel and turning area, the creation of a fifth berth, and land reclamation to help with major improvements to pedestrian and vehicle flows, town aesthetics, tour operations, and shopping.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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CTO 2016 Year of Romance ends with Ultimate Jamaican Dream Wedding

New York, NY- Dec 2, 2016 – In collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization year of Romance & www.MarryCaribbean.com, Jamaica will close out 2016 with the Ultimate Jamaican Dream Wedding to take place at the fabulous Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, December 10, 2016.

“This has been a truly collaborative effort and one that again reminds the world that the Caribbean is always the Oasis of the Western Hemisphere with product and service that fosters romance and takes its place on the world stage.  While the Ultimate Jamaican Dream Wedding was geared to the North American market, responses came in from all over the world – from China to Canada, says Jacqueline Johnson, CTC and CEO of www.MarryCaribbean.com & www.CaribbeanWeddingAssociation.com.

The Romance (wedding & honeymoon) market in the U.S. market has seen an uptick in spending with the average couple spending approximately $27,000.00 on their wedding.  Of course the Caribbean collectively enjoys the largest share of the romance market and prediction is that expenditure for destination wedding is poised to grow in 2017.

Jamaica’s commitment to this promotion under the stewardship of Mr. Paul Pennicook – Director of Tourism, puts Jamaica in the forefront of this ‘must buy’ market.  With bridal market expenditure in the North American Market of over $100Billion – the contest was designed not only to close out the Year of Romance but to capture the newly engaged and be a presence in the highest engagement season, a timing that is not lost in the marketing initiatives of the Jamaican Marketing Team.  In addition, the video and photos from the wedding will be used to promote  all sponsors and the Jamaica Bridal Market throughout 2017.

Without partners this program would not have had the massive presence that this promotion generated.  Thanks to:

*Mon Cheri for providing the wedding gown

*1888mytuxes.com for outfitting the groom in the latest tuxedo

*Caribbean Tourism Organization for flight arrangements for the bride & groom on Caribbean Airlines

*Tropicana Jewelers for providing gift certificate of US$1,000.00 to the lucky couple

*Jewel Runway Bay Beach Resort for the first year anniversary trip

*Glamour Tours for transportation in Jamaica

*Brenda O’Neale, Travel Agent extraordinaire of With This Ring Destination Wedding & Honeymoon

*Reggae Superstar Christopher Martin will serenade the couple (live) with his hit song “Take My Love”

*Moon Palace Jamaica Grande: providing the beach wedding ceremony from the Palace Resorts exclusive Nautical Wedding Collection.

With over 2 million weddings in the U.S. Market “today’s consumers are empowered and travel savvy and know more about their travel options than ever before. At MarryCaribbean.com we pride ourselves on providing the tools to enable them to make informed choices with ready access to our advertisers and their products” she concluded.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Antigua and Barbuda celebrates historic arrival of the MS Anthem of the Seas

St. John’s, Antigua (December 2, 2016) – One of the largest cruise vessels in the world, and the largest cruise vessel to dock into Antigua and Barbuda, the MS Anthem of the Seas, made her presence felt in Antigua and Barbuda today, as she towered over other vessels in Heritage Quay, on her inaugural arrival into Antigua with a host of fan-fare and celebrations from the Government and People of Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael extended a warm and hearty welcome to both Royal Caribbean International and MS Anthem of the Seas, her Captain and Crew, during the inaugural ceremony on board the vessel.

The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, The Hon. Gaston Browne, over 200 Government officials, dignitaries, stakeholders and invited guests were present for the on-board inaugural ceremony this morning.

In speaking to the Captain of the vessel on the inaugural visit, the Tourism Minister said, “We view this visit as a true sign of the confidence that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has in Antigua and Barbuda as a marquee destination capable of offering a first class experience to your cruise guests.

“We could not have thought of a more fitting way to commission the extension and improvements of our Heritage Quay Pier but to have history record that the Anthem of the Seas was the first ship to use these facilities on her inaugural voyage to our shores! So your arrival is an inaugural event – not just in terms of your visit, but for the seminal moment that it marks for our growing cruise industry overall.”

The Heritage Quay pier was extended to accommodate the large quantum class vessel.  The commissioning of the extension of the pier is scheduled to take place later this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. with another event, where hundreds of Antiguans and Barbudans have been invited to share in the historic moment.

To further mark the occasion, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, has also announced that duty free shopping will be implemented throughout the Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay area in celebration of the inaugural visit.

Duty free shopping is extended to all residents without the requirement of proof of travel that normally indicates that the goods purchased are leaving the country. This will be for one day only on Friday 2nd December from 9:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m.

This inaugural event will be celebrated with major activities in the Quay well into the evening after the ship has departed.

The 4220 passengers plus 1603 crew will have a major economic impact leading into the busy Christmas shopping season.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Marriott-Autograph Collection Resort to open in Antigua and Barbuda

JOHN’S, ANTIGUA (NOVEMBER 30, 2016) – Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy The Hon. Asot Michael has announced the entry of  a prestigious global hospitality brand Marriott hotel for Antigua and Barbuda.

Marriott International will expand its portfolio in the Caribbean with the latest addition from the brand’s Autograph Collection coming to the shores of the island of Antigua. The estimated $40 million project, which broke ground on November 29, 2016 will be situated just two miles west of the island’s capital, St. John’s, and a convenient six miles west of the airport.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister said it was an honour to be participating in the significant groundbreaking ceremony both for Antigua and Barbuda and the Coconut Beach Resort Project by Marriott.

“Being able to participate in the ground-breaking of new properties and developments, that will lead to increasing the room availability, and broadening our twin-island nations portfolio of distinguished properties, is of utmost distinction and importance.”

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has set the goal of increasing the room capacity of Antigua and Barbuda to 10,000 within the next 7 years.

The Marriott development is a venture of Leisure World Hotels Limited, which is jointly and equally owned by Sand Dollar Limited and Propertyvest, whose investors comprise some of Antigua’s most notable real estate developers. The new hotel rests on the location of the former Coconut Beach Club, property owned by Leisure World Hotels Limited, which closed indefinitely in 2015 and slated for demolition in anticipation of this project.

Coconut Beach Resort by Marriott will comprise of 40 high-end condominiums and a 70 room five star hotel with modern water features, eco-friendly amenities and a sustainable facility design throughout the property. The plan will ensure that the property will fit in-line with Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation as providing the quality to attract guests in an incredibly competitive market. Coconut Beach Resort by Marriott will cater to the top-end, and will appeal to those in the leisure and business market, with associated upscale services.

“We are confident that having the Marriott name and respect of brand as part of our portfolio will lead to increased airlift, in particular from the US market as this is a draw for US carriers,” said the Tourism Minister.

The Coconut Beach Resort by Marriot is expected to take 24 months to construct, and will provide 180 jobs during the construction phase, and 240 jobs once the property is open; representing a significant source of employment for the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place with the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honorable Gaston Browne, in attendance along with Honourable Asot Michael Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Andrew Houghton, Area Vice President for the Caribbean at Marriott International and Marriott’s Director of Development for the Caribbean and Latin America, Bojan Kumer.

Kumer said, “We believe Marriott’s Autograph Collection will be a strong addition to the current tourism landscape in the region and this project will endorse Antigua and Barbuda’s position as the international gateway to the eastern Caribbean. We are excited to bring the brand to the island and be part of its continued growth as a tourism destination.”

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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Saint Lucia’s “Love-A-Fare” winter sale features savings on air and hotels this January

SAINT LUCIA (November 18, 2016) – Recognized as one of the top islands in the world by the Conde Nast Travel Readers’ Choice Awards, Saint Lucia welcomes couples to escape January chills with airfare and accommodation savings. Ideal for a retreat or extended weekend getaway, Saint Lucia’s average temperature of 80 degrees, pristine beaches and lush rainforests provide an ideal backdrop for heating up winter romance.

The Love-A-Fare sale includes United Airlines and JetBlue non-stop airfare deals from three major cities. Expanded United Airlines weekend service from Newark Liberty International features round-trip fares starting at $296 for Saturday flights, with Sunday flights beginning December 18. United Airlines’ relaunch of direct flights from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Saint Lucia begin on December 17, with travel fares starting at $572.

JetBlue Airlines has non-stop daily flights from New York’s JFK International Airport starting at $295; fares from Boston’s Logan International Airport every Saturday starting at $524.

Hotel savings in January range from as much as 65 percent off regular rates and $1,000 airfare credit at Sandals Resort locations, to complimentary airfare for two with a seven-day booking at St. James Club Morgan Bay, and discounts of up to 45 percent plus one free night at Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa.

All hotel offers can be booked now through December 17 for travel in January. For more information on the January Love-A-Fare winter sale, visit: http://www.stlucia.org/united/

Saint Lucia Love-a-Fare hotel and resort deals include:

Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

  • Save up to 45 percent off, plus one free night
  • Six one hour passes to the Splash Island Water Park
  • Unlimited non-motorized water sports
  • Three-night minimum; Book by 12/17/16 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Bay Gardens Hotel

  • Save up to 45 percent off, plus one free night
  • Six one hour passes to the Splash Island Water Park
  • Unlimited non-motorized water sports
  • Three-night minimum; Book by 12/17/16 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Bay Gardens Inn

  • Save up to 45 percent off, plus one free night
  • Six one hour passes to the Splash Island Water Park
  • Unlimited non-motorized water sports
  • Three-night minimum; Book by 12/17/16 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Blu St. Lucia

  • Rates starting at $130 per night- single occupancy in a standard Veranda or Courtyard accommodation
  • Rates starting at $150 per night- double occupancy in a standard Veranda or Courtyard accommodation
  • Two- 60 minute spa treatments per stay
  • Three-night minimum; Book by 12/17/16 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Calabash Cove Resort & Spa

  • Receive up to 45 percent off plus one private beachfront dinner for two
  • Rates start at $249 per night, includes daily breakfast
  • Three-night minimum; Book by 12/17/16 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Capella Marigot Bay

  • Save up to 25 percent off rooms and 35 percent off suites if booked before 11/30
  • Receive a $200 Resort credit with a six-night minimum stay if booked before 12/17
  • Valid for travel between 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Coco Palm Resort

  • Receive a free night with six-night minimum stay
  • Room rates are based on single or double occupancy; subject to 10 percent service charge and 10 percent VAT
  • All-Inclusive includes Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; all beverages available during bar hours. Bottled water not included. House Wines by the glass. Bottle wines and champagnes are not included. House brand bar drinks – surcharge on premium brands. Surcharge on some food items.
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Coconut Bay Beach Resort

  • Winter savings up to 60 percent off plus $500 resort credits
  • Rates from $199 per person, per night based on double occupancy
  • Book by 11/30 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Fond Doux Plantation & Resort

  • Receive 25 percent off with three-night minimum stay
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

La Dauphine Estate

  • Receive 10 percent off all room categories
  • Free meet & greet and airport transfers
  • Free massage for two at Villa Beach Cottages
  • Free use of ocean kayaks at Villa Beach Cottages
  • Free cocoa plantation tour at La Dauphine Estate
  • Receive 10 percent off on-property jeep rental
  • Minimum stay of six-nights
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

The Landings Resort & Spa

  • Receive 30 percent off all rooms and rates
  • Complimentary airport transfers with five-night minimum
  • Receive $100 resort credit on seven-night stays
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Royal St. Lucia Resort & Spa

  • Buy five-nights, stay for seven-nights plus additional 10 percent off
  • Book by 12/17

Sandals Grande St. Lucian (All-Inclusive)

  • Receive up to $1,000 Air Credit plus one free night
  • Save up to 65 percent
  • Free Catamaran Cruise
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Sandals Halcyon Beach (All-Inclusive)

  • Receive up to $1,000 Air Credit plus one free night
  • Save up to 65 percent
  • Free Catamaran Cruise
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Sandals Regency La Toc (All-Inclusive)

  • Receive up to $1,000 Air Credit plus one free night
  • Save up to 65 percent
  • Free Catamaran Cruise
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

St. James Club Morgan Bay (All-Inclusive)

  • Book a seven-night stay in an ocean view room or higher and receive complimentary airfare for two
  • Stays less than seven-days receive up to 50 percent off for travel during November and December
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Ti Kaye Resort & Spa

  • Receive 20 percent off all room categories plus $100 food and beverage credit for United Airlines
  • T&C: Adults Only 18+ resort; double occupancy only
  • Minimum five-night stay
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

Villa Beach Cottages

  • Receive 10 percent off all room categories from deluxe bedroom villa suites to plantation houses
  • Complimentary meet & great and airport transfers
  • Complimentary massage for two
  • Complimentary use of ocean kayaks
  • Complimentary cocoa plantation tour at La Dauphine Estate
  • Receive 10 percent off on-property jeep rental
  • Minimum six-night stay
  • Book by 12/17 for travel 1/1/17- 1/31/17

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

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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British Virgin Islands Tourist Board announces exclusive Cyber Monday deals for warm winter getaways

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (November, 15, 2016) — Today, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Tourist Board is unveiling this year’s Cyber Monday (November 28) deals, offering vacationers a luxurious, warm weather escape at affordable price points.

For a limited time, travelers can take advantage of these unbeatable savings and book a fun-filled trip to the BVI, which was recently ranked #18 on the list of Best Islands in the World by Conde Nast Traveler’s 29th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards 2016. From savings up to $2,000 at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island to an additional night free at one of the villas offered by BVI Villa Rental, these Cyber Monday specials cater to groups of all sizes looking to spend the holidays in this tropical destination.

“With sunny skies and temperatures averaging 84 degrees all year-round, BVI is the perfect winter escape,” said Sharon Flax-Brutus, Director of the BVI Tourist Board. “Our Cyber Monday deals allow travelers to enjoy the pristine white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the BVI at an affordable price.”

For more information, visit http://www.bvitourism.com/cyberMonday or call 1-800-835-8530 to speak to an island host.

Private Islands & Resorts

  • Necker Island: Vacationers who book a stay at Sir Richard Branson’s private island can enjoy the 2016 rate, which amounts to savings up to $2,000 per night!
    • Booking window is November 28 to December 9. Offer is valid for travel from January 1 to March 31, 2017. To reserve, email [email protected] and use promotional code “Cyber Monday.”
  • Peter Island Resort & Spa:  Peter Island invites travelers to take advantage of their special Cyber Monday offer and experience this private island’s five white sand beaches, award-winning spa, and exceptional culinary offerings. Guests can enjoy up to 30 percent savings, up to $150 in resort credit, and a welcome bottle of champagne for 2017 bookings. To book, email [email protected] and use promotional code “BVI Cyber Monday Offer.”
    • Booking window is November 28 to December 19. Offer is valid for travel from January 4 to December 19, 2017.
  • Bitter End Yacht Club: Located in North Sound, Virgin Gorda, Bitter End Yacht Club is offering family-style deals to make the most of winter break. Travelers who take advantage of the two-room family package for families with children up to 25 years old will enjoy 50 percent savings on the second room. To book, call 1-800-872-2392 and use promotional code “BVI CyberMonday.”
  • Booking window is November 28 to December 31. Offer is valid for travel from January 2 to March 31, 2017. Blackout dates for this offer apply during the week of March 11 to March 26, 2017.
  • Scrub Island Resort & Spa: This year, Scrub Island is offering the Stay for Breakfast rate, which includes complimentary breakfast for up to two adults and children 12 years old and younger. Guests can dine al fresco at Caravela Restaurant overlooking the marina. For reservations, email [email protected] and use promotional code “S4B.”
    • Booking window is November 28 to December 31. Offer is valid for travel through December 16, 2017.

Villas

  • BVI Villa Rental: Families and large groups will love the comfort and space of a villa rental. With BVI Villa Rental’s Cyber Monday offer, guests can stay for seven nights, but only pay for six! To book, email [email protected] and use promotional code “Cyber Monday.”
    • Booking window is November 28 to December 12. Offer is valid for travel from January 7 to January 31, 2017. Some villas are excluded from this offer.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Destination News

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