06 DEC 2016:  If the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac is correct on its winter prediction Old Man Winter will be back.  But during those bouts of snow squalls and sub-zero temperatures, clients could be swiping the cold harsh white powder (snow) for that other warm welcoming powder (sand).

That’s the hope from a group of Caribbean tourism reps who attended a Caribbean Media Marketplace held last week in conjunction with a press conference that took place earlier by CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) also recognized media and two travel industry partners at a special luncheon ceremony.

Industry Recognition

This year marks a decade of WestJet service to the Caribbean with the Bahamas being its first international destination. The airline’s Special Recognition Award was in appreciation of the commitment to develop the Caribbean through tourism by providing a decade of outstanding, uninterrupted service to the region.

The Flight Centre Ltd’s Special Recognition Award was in recognition of the company’s significant impact on the development of the Caribbean through tourism and the outstanding contribution to the region.

A Caribbean snapshot:

Dominica “The Nature Island”

For many Canadians Dominica still remains an undiscovered sun destination says one insider. “They have 365 beaches and it’s more about experiential vacations like ed-ventures,” says Jerry Grymek, LMA account director for Dominica on a term he uses to describe educational adventures.

Think horseback riding on the beach, zip-lining, snorkelling, diving, and whale watching among other activities. For luxury seekers, there’s that product too. Secret Bay scores this year’s “World’s best boutique hotel” from the World Boutique Hotel Awards.  The exquisite resort boasts tree-house style residences in its resort menu.

New: Watch for hotel developments on the southern point http://www.dominica.dm/

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Around this collection of 32-islands and cays there’s a strong appeal especially for clients who are drawn to roads and islands less travelled. Big draws include the towering La Soufriere volcano, some of the oldest botanical gardens in the Western Hemisphere, and lush rainforests. The main gateway island is St. Vincent.

But all eyes are focused on the new international airport. Clients have been familiar with E.T. Joshua Airport near the capital of Kingston but soon thanks to a lot of heavy lifting, the government decided to literally move some mountains for this incarnation.

“We had to blow up two mountains, fill valleys put a river under the air strip and move a church,” says Shelley John, Director of Sales in Canada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Office on the massive project that started in 2008.

Agents can expect larger airlines (TBA) and direct flights (TBA) from Canada and its other major markets.

New: The new Argyle International Airport is set to open on St. Vincent in Argyle along the windward coast next month. http://discoversvg.com/

Atrebor Group

This boutique public relations agency represents a nice collection of Caribbean resorts.

The 250-room Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa offers two worlds in a mile-long oceanfront setting in Saint Lucia. New offerings include a selection of hand-crafted beers at the lobby bar and the lounge; a new children’s spa menu from kids mani/pedis to facials and massages featuring organic products, among other services.

For those looking for luxury, pampering, and rich history the 20-room Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant in Nassau, Bahamas has it all. Situated in a private enclave, the well-appointed surroundings have a casual elegance and lovely nooks from which to immerse in the island beauty. Head to the pool, learn the art of chocolate making at the on-site gourmet chocolatier, enjoy a stogie at the award-winning cigar boutique, and experience five-star dining and overnight in a sumptuous room.

The elegant mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1740 by Captain John Howard Graysmith who was a reformed 18th century pirate, the private residence has been the home of many high-browed figures like Lord Dudley who hosted the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Sir Winston Churchill.

Antigua and Barbuda

Only the Caribbean’s most romantic destination, the winner of this year’s World Travel Awards has a treasure chest of exquisite offerings.

For families, key properties like the 500-room Jolly Beach Resort and Spa has completed a renovation. “We have done a total beach makeover at Jolly Beach,” smiles Colin Skerritt, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s Director in Canada whose been in the post for four months, and adds, another renovation is at the Pineapple Beach Club (formerly the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua) . This resort managed by the Elite Island Resort went from a family to adults-only and has re-opened.

New: Paradise will be found at the new 80-room Hodges Bay Resort and Spa . This luxury beachfront development managed by the Barbados-based Elegant Hotels Group is opening its first property in Antigua. The resort will appeal to families, the multigenerational crowd, couples, and weddings and honeymoons. For room bookings, watch the second quarter in 2017 for sales.

Easy access with year-round direct flights from WestJet and Air Canada, you actually have a business class seat option so there is a choice.

Caribbean Week
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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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