Building back better has a dual meaning in the Caribbean as the region continues to rebound from the effects of the deadly and destructive 2017 hurricane season: not only are reconstructed hotels and infrastructure being designed to be more storm-resistant, but many resorts have taken the opportunity to invest in new facilities and amenities to come back even bigger and better than before the storms.
Why Barbados? Because it’s outside the hurricane belt and the tradewinds blow steadily, making the island comfortable year round. Because the sea is turquoise blue, the sandy beaches glistening white, the cuisine sophisticated, the Jacobean mansions and distilleries unique, the wreck diving amazing, and the cruise-ship port is five-minutes (about $6) by taxi to Bridgetown, the capital. And because the island is safe.
Antigua’s reputation has long been associated with the ultra-rich, home to estates owned by super-celebrities like Eric Clapton and Oprah Winfrey and the island getaway for British royalty, once Princess Diana’s favorite holiday destination. Because of this, many people envision Antigua as an exclusive, sedate island, and it is often overlooked by vacationers, especially families. It is true that Antigua and its sister-island Barbuda are not jam-packed with crowded resorts like many of its Caribbean neighbors, but this is not for a lack of excellent all-inclusives and things to do. Despite its fame, or perhaps as a result of it, Antigua is the best-kept secret in the Caribbean as a family destination where parents can enjoy time together while the kids have a blast, too.
To quote the Bajan muse Rihanna, Barbados wants to know “Where Have You Been,” especially come summertime in the Caribbean.
New year-round flights make Barbados more accessible than ever, and hot summer events include the revived Barbados Beach and Wellness Festival and of course the island’s unique take on Carnival, Crop Over, a month-long party that happens every July.
Jamaica took almost two dozen top honors at the 25th World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony, held fittingly in Jamaica under September’s dazzling stars and steamy breezes at Sandal’s Montego Bay.
Here’s a reality check for travelers wanting to visit Cuba. This is the best time in your lifetime to do it.
Government restrictions are now easily dealt with, and daily non-stop and direct flights to Havana are plentiful, inexpensive and easy to book. Travel agents can arrange for local tour operators to meet US clients and provide a personalized itinerary just for them.
The Caribbean suffered a double whammy in 2017: first from a pair of hurricanes that cut destructive paths through the region and cost the region an estimated 800,000 visitors, and then what Caribbean Tourism Organization Secretary General Hugh Riley calls an “image disaster” - the widely held perception that the entire Caribbean was devastated by the storms.
Karen Whitt, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for The Hartling Group (The Sands, The Palms, The Shore Club) took a moment from her busy life on the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos to shine some light on visiting the destination.
Sargassum, once almost exclusively the bane of seafarers, has grown into a major headache for resort destinations from the Caribbean to Mexico, to South Florida, fouling beaches with stinking, rotting masses of seaweed. Unfortunately, “What’s your seaweed situation?” needs to be added to the list of questions agents ask of resorts in the region before booking stays
This past June, the International Travel Partners Conference 2018 was held on Nassau, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Through increased and strategic marketing set forth by the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, the Bahamas has become the “new pace setter” of the Caribbean. The NPIPB announced that it has seen an 18% surge in stopover visitors in the first quarter of 2018, effectively “the fastest rate of growth of the region.” The goal for 2018-2019 is to remain on this track with the expectation of reaching their goal of 300,000 incremental visitors. To achieve this goal, they plan to promote the core tourism motivators of the region to beach lovers, casino goers, as well as wedding and honeymooners. They also seek to reach new visitors to the region and attract return visitors by driving home the message of the re-birth of “The New Nassau Paradise Island” with the revelation that this is not the same Bahamas of 20 years ago.