Much of the Caribbean is back open for business. After damage from two back-to-back hurricanes four months ago, many destinations are reporting that they are ready to welcome tourists with open arms. Many travelers seem to have the impression that the entire region was destroyed, but these islands want tourists to know that this is not true. Tourism plays a large part in recovery, bringing revenue to the region, and providing employment for residents. They encourage people to come and see for themselves. There is still some residual damage and recovery efforts continue, but the beaches are still beautiful, and the people always warm and welcoming.
An island encounter that allows for as much, or as little as you feel you want to do, the Cayman Islands, consisting of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman is a must-do for your bucket list this year.
For foodies, the Cayman Islands are home to a strong epicurean scene. There are more than 200 restaurants or eclectic eateries waiting to entice visitors. The wide selection for gastronomy are more than enough to keep you well-nourished and healthy. In fact, I was told that the region is often called the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.”
The 27th edition of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX)-Jamaica’s premier trade event, and most important business generator-came and went with a bang this past September at the Montego Bay Convention Center.
Hosted by the Jamaica Hotel and Transportation Association (JHTA), in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), JAPEX 2017 revealed groundbreaking developments in Jamaica’s tourism industry, from arrival increases to new hotels and experiences. The conference also highlighted the country’s new leadership role in coordinating a plan of disaster recovery for the Caribbean, to be further discussed at the UNWTO sustainable tourism conference that Jamaica will host November 27-29.
Don’t overlook the Caribbean when suggesting vacation spots for your food-loving clients. They may not realize the rich variety of cuisines, or the fact that the islands have attracted some highly experienced chefs from the mainland to transform the kitchens of the upper-end resorts. These chefs, working side-by-side with local chefs that have special expertise in using the native ingredients - tree-fresh tropical fruits, fresh-caught seafood and locally grown spices - combine the best of island cooking traditions with sophisticated contemporary styles.
Offering some of the best vacation options for family travel, and providing guaranteed fun for children of all ages, the Caribbean has always been a popular family destination. The region itself continues to attract tourists from around the world and recently, at the 2017 Caribbean Week news conference, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, new chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, announced that in the first quarter of 2017, destinations around the region received 8.7 million international tourist arrivals; 150,000 more than in the same period of 2016, a 1.8 percent increase.
Part of the ABC islands in the Dutch Caribbean, the island of Aruba is 19.6 miles long and six miles across, with a total area of 70 square miles. There is 82-degree weather all year long. The country is located just below the hurricane belt, 15 miles north of Venezuela.
The climate is perfect; quite dry with rarely a rainy day. That means more time on the brilliant beaches, some of which have been named best in the world.
In the southeastern Caribbean north of Trinidad, Grenada and the smaller sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique is a popular getaway for sun seekers looking for an alternative to the more crowded Caribbean islands. Gorgeous and green, the island nation is affectionately dubbed the ‘Spice Island’ for the wonderfully fragrant nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves that grow in the volcanic soil. “With so many activities and adventures available in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, we at the Grenada Tourism Authority are able to provide travel agents with the right tools to tailor unique experiences based on their clients’ interests,“ said Francine Stewart, marketing manager for the Grenada Tourism Authority.
The 18th edition of the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) conference took place in May in Bávaro, Punta Cana. Organized by the Dominican Republic’s National Hotels and Tourism Association (ASONAHORES) and Ministry of Tourism, the country’s most important tourism fair saw an all time attendance high with a 26% jump in the number of registered delegates, including 1,000 more appointments than in 2016. This edition also celebrated Viva Wyndham Resorts’ three decades in the hotel industry.
Destination weddings are big business in June with agents selling romance to clients looking for picture-perfect weddings on the beach, tropical honeymoons, and time away from the fray to celebrate an anniversary. Popular with couples who prefer to skip the hordes on the other busier islands, this petite isle across the channel from St. Kitts is romance-central, framed by the sea the color of a Tiffany blue box.
Skip the crowded beach, give the heave-ho to sand between your toes and opt instead for a refreshing dip in a resort pool. For clients who prefer a day at the pool over a day at the beach, pool royalty runs the gamut from pools on rooftops to infinity varieties with edges that seem to disappear into the ocean or the sky. Put a new spin on an old splash and take a leisurely lap around a cool pool in