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All About the

Caribbean April 2013

Your one-stop guide to all the latest news and developments in the Caribbean

Produced by

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All About the

Caribbean A

s the most tourismdependent region in the world, the Caribbean is constantly striving to improve and stay ahead of other destinations. Our progress has been plagued by the rising air passenger duty levelled by the British government; however, we are optimistic about the future and, despite these hurdles, have managed to hold our own with some destinations doing particularly well. In 2013, we are working on an extensive programme of promotional events which will help us to raise the profile of the Caribbean in the UK market. In particular we are focusing on niche groups, which is where we feel there is ample opportunity for growth. For example, we are putting extra emphasis on experiential voluntourism opportunities and the everexpanding luxury market in the Caribbean over the coming year, as well as promoting the extensive wedding and honeymoons offering. We will also ensure that the Caribbean is as visible as ever at trade and consumer shows throughout the year. Recently we have been working on two CTO conferences; the Sustainable Tourism Development Conference, which took place last month in Trinidad and Tobago, and the State of the Industry Conference, which will be held in Martinique in October. In addition to this, we are focusing on our extensive travel agents fam programme in order to ensure that we have as many representatives as possible telling their customers about the wonderful experiences that the Caribbean offers tourists. We aim to run two fam trips this year and are very excited about the launch of our brand new agent training programme. This is the first time the CTO will offer an online training programme and it will act as an invaluable resource for agents looking to get up to speed on news and events from across the Caribbean. Finally, we are focusing heavily on the promotion of the great value deals available from the UK to the Caribbean. Despite increasing APD, the Caribbean remains a competitively priced destination for UK holidaymakers and many tour operators and hoteliers are offering some truly exceptional deals with lots of fantastic added extras. Look out for free room nights, spa treatments, resort credit and island tours or voluntourism projects included in packages – all of which help to ensure our region continues to offer excellent value for money in the face of our competitors. Carol Hay Director of marketing UK and Europe Caribbean Tourism Organisation

CONTENTS The smaller islands - 4

Question Time - 6

Educationals - 9

Social media and training - 11

The bigger islands - 13

Holidays for less than... - 15

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Lower Ground Floor, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London SW1W 0EX Tel: 020-7834 6661 Publisher: Jeanette Ratcliffe Written and researched by: Angela Cronin Email: Design/Layout: Lee Telot & Nicky Valsamakis Printed by: Premier Press Cover Picture: Saint Lucia ISSN: 0956-2419

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What’s new

It’s a small world The pursuit of luxury knows no bounds for the more ‘off the beaten track’ islands


here is no doubt about it, big or small, the islands that make up the Caribbean know their luxury. But when it comes to film-star holidays and rock-star service, the smaller islands really have the scope to deliver. With islands only accessible by helicopters or small boats and sailing holidays on crewed yachts that cater for guests every whim, your clients are guaranteed to feel like they are getting the A-list treatment. Grenada Sandals is making its first foray into Grenada with the opening of the Luxury Included hotel, Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort and Spa, in December. The new property will be located along the Pink Gin Beach and will have 231 rooms housed within three distinct villages: Pink Gin, Italian and Tahiti. There will be nine dining options, a wellness centre with a gym, waterfalls and reflective pools, a zero-entry infinity pool and meeting room space with audio and visual capabilities. The Flamboyant Hotel has teamed up with Dive Grenada to launch Romance on the Reef, the Caribbean island’s first ever range of Underwater Wedding packages. For £500, couples can say ‘I do’ with the Caribbean Blue Underwater Wedding package. The True Blue Bay Resort has launched two all-inclusive packages for solo travellers and single-parent families offering discounted rates and a programme of complimentary activities. Adults can take part in yoga and cookery demos, rum tasting or water sports, while the children are entertained with activities such as

The Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in December.

jewellery making, hair braiding, table games and swimming. British Virgin Islands The BVIs has changed its marriage laws to make it easier for couples to have a destination wedding. People looking to get married now only have to be in the BVIs for 24 hours before being granted a licence – previously it was 48 hours. There is also an online service allowing couples to complete a number of the documents and registration online, reducing the amount of island-hopping required when in the BVIs. For more details, go to Sir Richard Branson’s Great House on Necker Island is set to open again in

the middle of the year following the 2011 fire that destroyed the property. Necker Island is usually hired exclusively for up to 28 guests on an all-inclusive basis, so is popular with groups who have a big budget and want to celebrate a special occasion. It can also be shared with others ‘houseparty’ style during celebration weeks held several times each year, when guests can book individual rooms. The next celebration weeks are 7, 14, 21 and 28 September and 5, 12, 19 and 26 October. Virgin Holidays + Hip Hotels offers seven nights' all-inclusive in a Great House room for £10,479 per person, including flights and transfers. The prices are based on select departure dates from 7 September to 12 October.

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A new resort community has opened on the northeast end of Virgin Gorda. Oil Nut Bay is spread across 400 acres with views of Eustatia Sound, Deep Bay the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It has a collection of beach villas and cliffside suites that are available for rent. Nightly rates in The Jewel Box Villa start from £2,468. The boutique resort of Biras Creek in Virgin Gorda has launched a Sailaway package for travellers who want to combine a stay at the boutique resort with sailing around the BVIs. Holidaymakers can spend up to four nights sailing on board the Crystal Clear, a 62ft crewed ketch and each itinerary is tailor-made so holidaymakers can visit different islands, deserted beaches and find the best spots for snorkelling and swimming. Driftwood Resorts opened the new 16-room Anegada Beach Club in Anegada in the British Virgin Islands at the beginning of this month. Cayman Islands The tourist board has launched a £500,000 consumer advertising activity campaign that will run until May. The six-week campaign is currently running in The Times and includes a competition to win a holiday to the Caymans along with a similar campaign in the Evening Standard. The tourist board has also introduced a new 2013 travel planner that is designed to give agents booking a client on a holiday to the Caymans more information on hotels, attractions and restaurants. Turks and Caicos A new boutique hotel has opened on Turks and Caicos. The 21-room Beach House Turks and Caicos on the 12-milelong Grace Bay Beach, formerly known as the Turks and Caicos Club, has been completely renovated. Sandals has acquired the Veranda Resorts and Residences in Turks and Caicos. It will be a new extension to the Beaches TCI property and will be called Key West Village. Air Turks and Caicos now flies to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic four times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Where romance - and the fragrances of nutmeg and cinnamon – is in the air. With sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Grenada enchants visitors with its beaches and rainforests, dive sites and delicious cuisine. On a ‘quietly exciting’ holiday it’s easy to see why this lush island becomes a favourite spot for re-energising and relaxing the mind and the body. Come to Grenada and be welcomed by a people whose unmatched warmth makes it the perfect year-round holiday choice for you and your clients.

Grenada Board of Tourism Tel: 44 (0)20 8328 0644 k m

The Great House on Necker Island will reopen later this year.

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Question Time


otting Hill-based Travel Counsellor Cathie O’Dea, Debby King from Boston-based Departure Lounge Travel, Elaine Price from Wolverhampton-based Spears Travel, Gabi Birbeck from Rendezvous Travel in Buckinghamshire and Essex-based Travel Counsellor Jack Leaf talked to us about the pros and cons of selling the Caribbean. 1. What do you find are the main obstacles to selling the Caribbean? Cathie O’Dea, Travel Counsellor: “Air passenger duty without a doubt.” Debby King, Departure Lounge Travel: “Often, people like flexibility, 10 nights instead of seven and 14 for instance. This isn’t always possible. Also, our clients often only want direct flights.” Elaine Price, Spears Travel: “Stories about attacks on tourists in the media. Sometimes, price and flight connectivity can be an issue, however most clients we book seem adamant once they have made their mind up. It’s just a question of the right deal.” Jack Leaf, Travel Counsellor: “I don’t find any obstacles to selling holidays to the Caribbean..” Gabi Birbeck, Rendezvous Travel: “Tax on flights is ridiculously high. Often clients don’t want to take domestic flights to the smaller islands.” 2. Which other destinations compete with the Caribbean? Cathie O’Dea: “Indian Ocean and the Far East.” Debby King: “Maldives, Mauritius and Cape Verde.” Elaine Price: “Dubai, Thailand and Florida.” Jack Leaf: “I don’t seeing any other destination specifically competing.” Gabi Birbeck: “Indian Ocean.” 3. How much do you know about direct flights from the UK to the Caribbean? eg classes available, costs. Cathie O’Dea: “I am fairly competent about what flights are available.” Debby King: “Depending on the carrier, scheduled airlines have economy, premium economy on British Airways and Virgin, along with Business, Upper and First. On charter flights, some offer a premium cabin at a supplement (slightly

In the first of our brand new Question Time features, we talk to five agents about their experiences of selling the Caribbean more leg room, wider seats etc) or the chance to pay for extra leg room.” Elaine Price: “I have an all-round knowledge, although you can never stop learning.” Jack Leaf: “I only book scheduled so it’s all in Galileo – straightforward enough.” Gabi Birbeck: “Enough. I usually leave the flights up to the tour operator but I can access if necessary via Sabre.” 4. What sort of information would you like to receive more of from suppliers, for example incentives, fam trips, recommended itineraries for twin centre or multi island holidays and hotel updates. Cathie O’Dea: “All of the above.” Debby King: “Fam trips, recommended itineraries for twin centre or multi-island holidays, i.e know which islands have a direct flight between.” Elaine Price: “All of the above are useful and are good selling tools.” Jack Leaf: “I have most of the information I need.” Gabi Birbeck: “We work closely with the tourist boards and hotels.” 5. How much do you know about the cruises around the Caribbean? Would you benefit from more training on what the cruise lines offer? Cathie O’Dea: “Yes, I think so.” Debby King: “We do not sell many cruises, although I know there is a wide range of cruise ships which offer a different experience altogether. A lot of people fancy cruise and stay.” Elaine Price: “We are fairly clued up on what’s on offer.” Jack Leaf: ”I don’t sell many cruises.” Gabi Birbeck: “Most of our Caribbean business is land based. Cruises are a big seller but for us mainly to the Galapagos and South America.”

Gabi Birbeck

Jack Leaf

Debby King

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Question Time Barbados

6. How much interaction do you have with tourist board representatives, eg agency visits, roadshows, dinners etc? Cathie O’Dea: “Being in London, I go to quite a lot.” Debby King: “Limited – as we are based in Lincolnshire, the dinners and roadshows are usually based in London or Manchester, so it’s too far to travel.” Elaine Price: “We attend where we can, as again we find these useful, for product knowledge and contacts. Fam trips are few and far between, but always find you can sell a destination far better once you have experienced it first hand.” Jack Leaf: “Very little, I find hotel representation companies more focused to luxury travel than the tourist offices.” Gabi Birbeck: “An enormous amount of support, information, encouragement and training is given to us by our friends at the tourist boards, hotels and tour operators.” 7. Which Caribbean training programmes have you completed? How helpful were they and did you sell holidays on the back of them? Cathie O’Dea: “Cayman, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica but I probably need a refresher course.” Debby King: “The CTO has a good training product and I have completed that. I also randomly do other one-off countries when I see them come up on travel training websites. They do help you find out facts and things to do that you may not have heard of, especially if you haven’t been.” Elaine Price: “None as yet, as I need to find time to do this.” Jack Leaf: “I don’t do any online training. I prefer to read travel publications, look up online or attend evening events.” Gabi Birbeck: “Most of them. They are helpful as they give you an insight into the destination if you have yet to visit.”

8. How familiar are you with the range of accommodation offered? Cathie O’Dea: “There’s a good range from simple, basic accommodation to super de luxe.” Debby King: “Very familiar, anything from large all-inclusive resorts to small boutique hotel and apartments.” Elaine Price: “We have good contacts with certain operators and pick it up from them.” Jack Leaf: “I’m familiar with luxury only.” Gabi Birbeck: “Quite familiar, although we mainly sell top end. If it’s a destination I’ve visited, it’s easier to know what will suit.” 9. What type if holidays would you like to sell more of? eg family, wedding & honeymoon, spa holidays. Cathie O’Dea: “Honeymoon.” Debby King: “Weddings and honeymoons.” Elaine Price: “No preferences.” Jack Leaf: “I’m happy with what I sell.” Gabi Birbeck: “We sell all these and each have their ups and downs. Finding the correct property for all members of the party concerned is a challenge.” 10. Which fam trips to the Caribbean have you been on? How have they helped you increase bookings? Cathie O’Dea: “Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and the Caymans – all helped tremendously.” Debby King: “Twin centres with Barbados and Antigua and Barbados and St Lucia, both with Kuoni. We went to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with the CTO. I am 100% more confident about selling these destinations having been and 7

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Question Time experienced them for myself. The day after I returned from Jamaica I sold the destination to a couple planning their honeymoon. I could tell them about different hotels as well as excursions. I am much more enthusiastic and excited to talk about the islands, feeling I can be honest and share my experiences.” Elaine Price: “None.” Jack Leaf: “Jamaica for three nights, Antigua, Anguilla, Nevis, St Barts and the British Virgin Islands for seven nights. Of course fam trips help, if the right participants are selected.” Gabi Birbeck: “I’m lucky enough to have been offered many fam trips, but I’m still hoping to visit the Dominican Republic, Cuba, US Virgin Islands, Dominica and Turks and Caicos.” e Price

Negril beach, Jamaica


Cathie O’Dea

Conclusions 1. Agents concluded that the rise in APD duty in recent years is one of the stumbling blocks to selling holidays to the Caribbean. The CTO says: “We are working with the Caribbean Council and the rest of the travel industry to fight this unfairly banded tax system. While flights continue to be pricier than we would like, it’s important not to discount the fact there are still some fantastic offers available to the Caribbean.” 2. Agents said they would like to receive more information from tourist boards. The CTO says: “This is something we will be sure to communicate with all our members. The CTO is also launching a brand new training programme for agents in the next few months, which is the first time the CTO will have had an online programmme.” (More details, pages 13-14). 3. Agents believe the opportunity to go on more fam trips would help them to sell more holidays to the Caribbean.

The CTO says: “This year we plan to host two trips, destinations are still to be confirmed. To register your interest, contact or” 4. Currently, agents don’t sell many cruises. The CTO says: “We would like to encourage cruise lines to offer overnight stops in the Caribbean as part of their itineraries as we are keen to showcase as much of our region as possible to cruisers in the Caribbean. Our new agent training programme will be a good resource for getting itinerary ideas.” 5. Agents have said they would like to sell more weddings and honeymoons. The CTO says: “The CTO produces an annual Wedding and Honeymoons guide, which is a great resource for agents wishing to get up to speed on news and sell more weddings and honeymoons. You can view the guide here”

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The Cayman Islands Tourist Board is taking 10 Travel Counsellors on an educational in June

Seeing is believing With the right mix, educationals are the key to increasing bookings for agents, operators and tourist boards


s Debby King from Departure Lounge Travel explains in our Cayman Islands Question Time feature, the value of fam trips is enormous for The tourist board is hosting a Travel Counsellors fam trip from all involved. 7-12 June. Agents come back excited, energised and knowledgeable about Ten counsellors will visit the islands with representatives from the destination they have visited, and fully geared up to sell it. As the tourist board where they will explore the sites and Debby says after a Caribbean Tourism Organisation fam trip she attractions of Grand Cayman and Little Cayman. went on to Jamaica and the Cayman islands: “I could tell clients about different hotels as well as excursions, I am much more enthusiastic and excited to talk about the islands, feeling I can be honest and share my experiences.” Funway Holidays teamed up with segway rally racing. We look at the fam trips coming up this Sandals last year to take nine agents on Dave Roberts from Go Travel who took year and talk to some agents who have been a Sandals by Funway Caribbean, five-star part in the trip said the educational has on educationals to the Caribbean to find out luxury educational. already paid for itself him as he has since about their experiences. The fam trip took place from 28 booked a couple on a honeymoon to the November to 5 December 2012, in Sandals Grande Antigua Resort. Saint Lucia partnership with Sandals Resorts. Agents Dave’s comments highlight just how The tourist board is running 13 educationals from Journey The World, Bath Travel, Off important it is for agents to experience this year, taking 10 agents on each one. Broadway Travel, Go Travel, Ambassador the destinations they are selling. The fam trips are available to agents who Travel, Regent Travel, Abbot Travel, “Even though I had already experienced have completed the Saint Lucia Expert training Traveltime and Travel House, were some of the Sandals properties, I found course. For more details on how to get on to accompanied by Fiona Boss, Funway that the resort tours in both Saint Lucia the educationals, email Holidays sales development executive, and Antigua were extremely helpful. Due as they visited Antigua and Saint Lucia. to the sheer amount of different room Caribtours The trip included two nights staying at types within each resort, I now have a Caribtours is hosting four fam trips to the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa much better understanding of where Caribbean this year. These include the and then on to Saint Lucia for four nights they are located and better product British Virgin Islands, leaving on 10 May. in the Sandals La Toc Golf Resort and Spa. knowledge so I can now be more This is a dedicated Caribtours Diamond The itinerary featured various activities confident in selling particular room types Club trip and will reward the operator’s top including a Island Routes tour with based on what the client is looking for.” travel agents. Other educationals include one to Jamaica on 17 May, Cuba on 20 June and St Lucia on 24 November. The educationals are for a maximum of seven agents and are open to agents who have made a minimum of one booking through Caribtours in a 12-month period. Interested agents should email Agents on the Sandals by Funway fam enjoyed an Island Routes Segway Tour of Saint Lucia

Sandals by Funway 2012 educational

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Social media

The new channels Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus... the way we are communicating is changing, but is the travel industry keeping up with the pace of change?


he evolution of social media has changed the way most of us communicate these days, with many of us Facebooking and tweeting on a daily basis. Tourist boards, tour operators, hotel groups and airlines are waking up to the fact that not only can they use the social media channels to access their customers, then can also communicate their key messages to the trade. In the first of our new Social Media features, we find out which tourist boards and travel companies in the Caribbean are grabbing the bull by the horns and updating their statuses on Facebook and communicating their marketing messages in less than 140 characters on Twitter. St Vincent and the Grenadines The tourist board has launched a Liming Appreciation Society across social media. This campaign was created to prove St Vincent and the Grenadines’ commitment to the art of liming. Described by the urban

dictionary as “encompassing any leisure activity that entails the sharing of food and drink, the exchange of tall stories, jokes and anecdotes”, liming encourages people to dedicate more relaxation time “provided that the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself.” Agents who like or follow The Liming Appreciation Society on Facebook and Twitter will be able to enter competitions, share liming stories, music, recipes and more. The Liming Appreciation Society can be found at: @DiscoverSVG Jamaica The Tourist Board’s Twitter account updates agents on the latest news, including details of upcoming trade events and webinars. The tourist board also runs regular agent competitions on Twitter. Twitter @JTBUK

The Cayman Islands The tourist board has a dedicated Facebook site for the UK that is updated with news, events and competitions with agents actively encourage to ‘like’ the Facebook page. The Caymans also have a Twitter account that complements the tourist board’s Facebook page.

The British Virgin Islands The BVIs use Twitter to promote special offers from operators and news from the tourist board about events, exhibitions and workshops, as well as updates from the islands on anything from festivals to hotel news. The tourist board also runs a weekly Twitter campaign called the Jewels of the Week. Aimed at promoting the Jewels properties a different tweet with the #JOTW hashtag is sent each Monday morning to promote one of the properties. @BritishVirginIs

chances of winning a prize. To sign up, email The British Virgin Islands has relaunched its Natures Little Secret Agents online training programme. New features include a private forum for agents to share BVI news and stories, log their bookings, find out details about upcoming fam trips and it will also give them access to seek advice direct from the tourist board. The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have an online training agents’ programme which provides consultants with all the tools to sell the

destination. Incentives, including the chance to win trips to the islands, are run periodically. The Anguilla Tourist Board is offering agents the chance to become Anguilla Experts by signing on to new online training modules. AMResorts is offering agents the chance to find out about all promotions, upcoming webinars and the new Travel Agent Education Programme where they will learn all about the hotel group’s brands and become a master agent.

Training update The St Lucia Tourist Board has relaunched its training programme with a refresher module for all agents who have already completed the course. Agents can also log bookings and win incentives in a monthly draw. The Jamaica Tourist Board has a series of webinars, and the next one ‘Think You Know Jamaica’ takes place on 13 May at 10.30am. This interactive learning session will include quizzes with prizes up for grabs. Agents can take the Jamaica Travel Specialist course beforehand to increase their

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In the hot seat:

‘Trinbago’s the way to go’ Victoria Taylor, sales and marketing manager, Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Office In what ways are you working with travel agents? Darrin Des Vignes is our dedicated on-the-road sales agent who offers presentations and delivers training modules. Darrin also presents information on our online training programmes and our incentives programmes, as well as raising awareness of our travel agent mascot, Steely Pan. In terms of training, what is available for agents? We have lots of events that we host throughout the year. We generally host four solo agent events from the summer through to December. We also have an online training module (, which is our stand-alone training module. At the end of completing the module, agents are eligible for prize draws, fam trip places and holiday giveaways. We also have Trinbago rewards where we give away prizes such as iPads, spa weekends, handbags and holidays. We're hoping to add a fam tour for agents following the sustainability conference in Trinidad, where we'll be raising awareness of sustainability in the Caribbean as a whole. Any updates on your campaign for this year? We have been running a discount campaign (Tobago Go Go Go) which is fantastic for us, particularly on a top tier tour operation level, which enables operators to give £100 off per passenger. Our main strategy for this year though is sustainable tourism, niche travel, ecotourism, weddings and diving holidays. In terms of new announcements, we've got TUI specialists, Hayes and Jarvis now featuring Trinidad as an addition to Tobago, which they are featuring as a twin centre.

which was around a 10% increase year-on-year. We are looking to increase our room stock in Tobago and welcome new hotels. However, none of the new hotels will be above 200 rooms, in following the local law which means that no hotel on the island can be above two storeys. We're also working on developing our product to suit families. Traditionally, Tobago hasn't really offered the all-singing, alldancing kids’ clubs that other destinations in the Caribbean offer. We will remain that way, however we have introduced children's clubs to a couple of properties on the island. What is your advice to travel agents selling Trinidad and Tobago? Firstly, the unique and diverse offering that Tobago has. None of our hotels tend to feature or focus on the allinclusive package and this is because the destination is extremely safe and we encourage holidaymakers to go off resort and see the real destination. Culturally, we have many different events and festivals throughout the year for visitors to experience, many of which are free to attend. The destination also offers great value for money. For more information visit Trinidad and Tobago has resisted the temptation to introduce all-inclusive resorts

Have you noticed any emerging trends with UK visitors to Trinidad and Tobago? Broadly speaking, tourists are looking not only at the price tag of a holiday but what a destination has to offer, so Tobago as a destination has really stayed true to itself and has not allowed for any large chain resorts to come on island. Most operators are reporting growth and have been since 2011, and last year saw an increase in visitor numbers 12 All About the Caribbean

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A private swimming pool at one of the Royal Villas at the luxurious Half Moon resort in Jamaica

The big picture From Barbados to Bermuda, there’s lots of things happening on the bigger islands in 2013 The Caribbean Tourism Organisation The CTO has launched an online training programme. The new training tool will bring all Caribbean training together in one resource and will also allow for the instant sharing of Caribbean-wide news across a broader audience. The new online training will also make it easier for a much larger number of agents to take part, share insider tips and news while both agents and partners will be able to monitor progress. The online programme will introduce a new rewards scheme, so agents can win prizes for successfully completing certain modules. The programme is a fully integrated course and will have the facility to link to training courses of individual CTO members. Barbados The Club Barbados Resort and Spa has teamed up with insomniac specialist Dr Guy Meadows to host the island’s first Sleep School The seven-day workshop will run at Club Barbados, the newest addition to the Elite Island Resorts Group, from June 411 with further sessions planned for the latter half of 2013 on Barbados and at other Elite Island Resorts Group locations. Kuoni offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £1,755 including flights and transfers. Couples Barbados, the first adults-only resort on the island, is due to open in June, following the hotel group taking over the management of the 280-room Casuarina Beach Resort in February. A multi-million-pound refurbishment programme has led to the introduction of new decor and amenities including a new pool, Jacuzzi, spa, salon, gym, yoga gazebo and piano bar. Jamaica Half Moon, A RockResort in Montego Bay, has completed the renovation of three oceanfront villas as part of its ongoing five-year refurbishment programme for its Royal Villas. The upgrading work includes new bathrooms fixtures for all en-suite bathrooms, new sofas and dining room furniture as

well as new soft furnishings throughout the villas. Half Moon’s Royal Villas have been designed to be like an exclusive hotel, with spacious living areas that have cable TV, DVD player and Wi-Fi, terraces, balconies and between four and seven airconditioned bedrooms, with en-suite bathrooms. They also have private swimming pools. Villa guests have access to all of the Half Moon resort’s facilities too including the spa, golf course, golf academy, tennis courts, equestrian centre, Spinning studio, fitness centre, 54 swimming pools, Hype Zone for teenagers, the Anancy Children’s Village, water sports, dolphin lagoon, shopping village, bars and restaurants. Dominican Republic AMResorts is opening a new hotel in Punta Cana in November. All of the rooms at the Now Oynx Punta Cana will be junior suites with Jacuzzis in the bathrooms. There will be five swimming pools including an infinity main pool, two quiet pools and two Preferred Club pools. There will be a plaza with bars, restaurants and shops, along with Explorer’s Club for Kids and a large convention centre. Meanwhile, as part of its Endless Privileges and UnlimitedLuxury packages, AMResorts is offering guests the chance to Sip, Savor and See. Guests will be able to enjoy dinner and live entertainment at neighbouring resorts. Sirenis Hotels and Resorts is offering agents the opportunity to save up to 30% off a stay at its resort in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The offer is available on low season bookings and is subject to availability. This five-star resort contains two hotels: Sirenis Tropical Suites Casino & Aquagames y Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort Casino and Aquagames, which will have a new water park that opens next month. There is a wide range of activities for guests to take part in, including scuba diving, fishing, parachuting, sailing and windsurfing and all kinds of water sports. Antigua 13

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Club Barbados Resort and Spa will host the island's first Sleep School

Jolly Beach Resort has teamed up with Antigua’s ‘Insane Boot Camp’ to offer an extreme workout for guests to kick-start or bump up their health and fitness efforts. Launching on 25 April, the five-day Insane Beach Body programme challenges guests to push their mental and physical limits, with a full-body cardio workout, core conditioning, a 12mile hike to Antigua’s highest point, Mount Obama, and a 10-mile hike to the famous Shirley Heights on the final day Virgin Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £999 per person including flights and transfers on 24 April departures. St Lucia The island is hosting its first international triathlon, organised by Human Race who ran the London 2012 triathlon. The event, which takes place from 22-23 November, will feature three

different lengths of races for the swim, bike and run, along with various smaller fun events for locals and amateurs to participate in, and pre and post gala dinners and events. Caribtours are the exclusive travel provider in the UK for this event. Prices start at £1,465 per competitor and include seven nights’ room only at the Windjammer Landing, flights, race entry fee as well as a number of events; a Beach Swim, Beach Run and an Aquathlon (Swim/Run), a pre-race reception party, post-event BBQ and an ocean boat trip. Caribtours The Caribbean specialist is tapping into the demand for more affordable holidays with the launch of its C by Caribtours brochure. The programme features a new selection of 46 quality, affordable hotels in a range of Caribbean islands. Prices start at £825 per person for seven

nights’ all-inclusive at the Occidental Grand Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Hayes and Jarvis The long-haul specialist says that the demand for all-inclusive holidays in the Caribbean is on the up. Head of commercial Sean Dowd said: "Saint Lucia and the Dominican Republic are two of our current bestsellers in the Caribbean, and demand is definitely on the increase for all-inclusive packages. “We have seen demand for allinclusive packages to St Lucia grow by 30% over the last two years, especially at four and five-star levels; and good value all-inclusive at a five-star level is a key factor in the growing popularity of the Dominican Republic, as is increased flight capacity.”

For agents... Bermuda The Bermuda Department of Tourism has introduced an awards programme for agents. Bermuda Reward$ will be made on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis with the agent who makes the most bookings over the course of the year winning a trip for two to Bermuda.

valued agent partners the opportunity to experience a Sandals WeddingMoon for themselves. Agents will also be able to use their Sell and Go nights or special TA rates for their Luxury Included stay at any of the 13 Sandals and three Beaches Resorts across the Caribbean. The promotion is valid until 21 December 2013.

Jamaica The Jamaica Tourist Board offers a range of agent incentives through My Booking Rewards. Agents can register their bookings on the website to be in with a chance of winning a prize. All FIT bookings earn the agent a Jamaica goody bag. To register a booking, visit

Couples The hotel group is offering agents the chance to stay at the new Couples Barbados resort with the incentive of a free week’s stay for two at the property for every four bookings logged on The Training Academy. In addition there are £30 Love2Shop vouchers for every Couples Resorts booking plus reductions for holidaymakers including 40% discount offers and a £500 ‘air credit’ for every couple booking to go towards their air fares.

Sandals The all-inclusive accommodation provider has launched Travel Agents Say “I Do” to Sandals, a new promotion that gives 14

All About the Caribbean

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Holidays for less than…

Holidays for less than... From budget to affordable luxury, what can agents expect to find for their clients? In our first-ever Holidays for less than, we talk to the operators and find out what the best deals are around at the moment so you don’t have to.

…£1,000 Hayes and Jarvis is featuring seven nights’ all-inclusive at the five-star Now Larimar Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic from £995 per person. The price includes British Airways flights and transfers. How to book: tel: 0871 200 2211; Kuoni is offering seven nights’ room-only in a garden view studio at the three-and-a-half-star Amaryllis Beach Resort in Barbados from £929 per person. The price includes BA flights and departure dates are 8, 13-16, 20-22 May 2013. Tour ref: CB0032. How to book: tel: 01306 744447;

…£1,500 Grenadine Escape has seven nights at the private villa Tabah in Bequia for £1,400 per person based on 10 people sharing on a June 8 departure. The price includes flights and jeep rental and must be booked by April 30 2013. How to book: tel 020 3468 5592; BVI Holidays is featuring seven nights’ self-catering at Mango Bay Resort from £1,265 per person including flights. How to book: tel: 01279 871188; Kuoni has seven nights’ all-inclusive at the three-and-a-half-star Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort in Jamaica with prices from £1,335 per person and includes flights with Virgin Atlantic. The offer applies to departures

from 1-31 May 2013. Tour ref: JM0060. How to book: tel: 01306 744447; Tropical Sky has seven nights at Smugglers Cove Resort and Spa on Saint Lucia from £1,089 per adult. This price is based on two adults sharing a super saver room on an all-inclusive basis and includes economy flights with Virgin Atlantic and transfers How to book: tel: 0844 332 9360;

...£2,000 Carrier has seven nights for the price of five at Biras Creek, British Virgin Islands. Prices start at £1,980 per person and are based on two people sharing, plus complimentary upgrade to full board. Prices include flights with Virgin Atlantic, plus return inter-island flights and transfers. The offer is valid until 20 December 2013. How to book: tel: 0161 492 1354;

...£2,500 Kuoni features seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the Calabash Cove, St Lucia in a sunset junior suite from £2,329 per person including BA flights. Departures are 5, 10-12, 18-19, 25-26 June and 2-4 Jul 2013. Tour ref: CL0106 How to book: tel: 01306 744447;

...£5,000 Virgin Holidays Cruises is offering a 16-night Platinum Collection Caribbean Stay and Cruise on Seabourn

Virgin Holidays Cruises features a 16-night Platinum Collection Caribbean Stay and Cruise on Seabourn Spirit

Spirit from £4,199 per person. The price includes one night at the Sugar Cane Club Hotel and Spa, before joining Seabourn Spirit for 14 nights from Bridgetown, Bequia, Roseau, Deshaies, St Johns, Road Bay, Prickly Pear Island, Philipsburg, Great Harbour, Gustavia, Basseterre, Terre-De-Haut, Castries, Mayreau, and Bridgetown. Flights and transfers are included. How to book: tel: 0844 488 3084; 15

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Travel Bulletin Caribbean Supplement 2013  

Travel Bulletin Caribbean Supplement 2013