Monday,  January 24, 2022  1:36 am

CTO: Caribbean looking ahead with new resorts & more


CTO: Caribbean looking ahead with new resorts & more
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

During the recent Caribbean Tourism Organization Media Day in Toronto, representatives from a number of destinations were on hand to showcase what’s new in the region for 2018 and beyond.

Here’s a rundown of what Canadians can look forward to in the Caribbean:

Anguilla

While Anguilla continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma, the island is nonetheless open for business with 30 per cent of its room stock expected to be available for the upcoming travel season; by April, 70 per cent of rooms are expected to become available. Currently, due to reduced service to Princess Juliana International Airport in nearby St. Maarten, Canadian travellers are advised to fly direct into Antigua (service is offered by both Air Canada and WestJet) and take a charter flight into Anguilla. Destination updates can be found at Irma.IvisitAnguilla.com.

Bahamas

The long-awaited Baha Mar development has opened its doors with the debut of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar this past spring. Two more hotels – SLS Baha Mar and Rosewood Baha Mar - are slated to open this fall and next spring, respectively. Renovations have also been completed at Melia Nassau Beach Resort All Inclusive and One & Only Ocean Club.

Barbados

Barbados’ Sugar and Rum season runs January to April, bringing plenty of tours for guests to explore the culinary side of the destination, including plantation and distillery explorations.

Cayman Islands

Joining the recently-opened Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, Cayman Islands will also see the opening of Margaritaville by the end of this year, said Raymond Mathias, Canadian BDM for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism adding that a major renovation at Owen Roberts International Airport will be completed by December 2018. Canadian visitation remains strong with a 24 per cent increase recorded as of September 2017.

Raymond Mathias, Canadian BDM for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Cuba

With the reopening of Cuba’s Cayos region to travellers, the destination is “open for business and welcoming Canadians,” said Nieves Ricardo of the Cuba Tourist Board. At one point, more than 6,000 workers were on the island to fix the Cayos causeway, a task which was completed in 72 hours.

Grenada

Several new properties are coming to Grenada in the near future, including the Silversands Grenada (opening March 2018) and a new Kimpton property in 2019, both offering a mix of villas and suites, while the Spice Island Beach resort is reopening as well.

Jamaica

‘The Home of All Right’ continues to grow, with Jamaica anticipating an increase of more than 12,000 hotel rooms between 2018 and 2021, adding 1,100 in 2017 alone. Recently opened properties include Breathless Resort & Spa, Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach and Azul Beach.

Montserrat

A new destination to many travellers, Montserrat offers “a chance to get away from everything” with a distinct lack of the large all-inclusives and nightclubs found throughout the Caribbean, said Raja Kadri, chief economist for Montserrat. Located 45 minutes from Antigua by ferry or charter flight, visitors to this “Fiji of the Caribbean” can find plenty of villas and a unique Irish influence.

Saint Lucia

With a new campaign titled ‘Let Her Inspire You,’ Saint Lucia is poised to grow even further with the addition of many new resorts in the coming years. According to Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee, Fairmont will operate a 250-room luxury hotel in the south near the Pitons, while Ritz Carlton has recently broken ground on an incoming development. Sandals has also announced its fourth Saint Lucian resort. A new $200 million airport terminal is also in the works, Fedee said.

Turks and Caicos

Canadians visiting this winter can explore the Turks and Caicos Collection – three all-inclusive luxury properties, including options for both families and couples. Free shuttle service is offered from one property to the next and exchange privileges offer guests a choice of eight bars and seven restaurants.

St Vincent

With its new international airport opened this past February, Canadians will have increased access to St. Vincent this winter with Sunwing flying every other week from October to January, and weekly flights from Air Canada between Dec. 14 and April.

Saint Lucia's Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee (left) & Andrew Ricketts, TOTAL Public Relations

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