Up and Down the Isles

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Fifth Annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (STAR) Awards at Beaches Turks & Caicos, an event sponsored by Travel Agent. The event honors top-selling agents from around the world; Sandals has some of the most enthusiastic and loyal travel partner agents in the business. On pages 4 and 5, you'll find highlights from STARS. Mark Rogers

During his remarks at the awards ceremony, Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, told a story that points to the company's popularity. When Stewart was entering one of Canada's international airports, a passport mix up caused him to be detained. He was brought to a small room with a table and two chairs. It was the kind of scene where the anxiety level can be ratcheted up by the minute.

An official finally came in and asked Butch, "Why are you in Canada?"

Butch said, "I'm here for a promotion."

"Where do you work?"

"I'm the chairman for Sandals."

The official broke out into a smile. "Sandals? I had the best vacation there."

It was smooth sailing after that.

Passport Promotion

SuperClubs will pay your clients' passport fee (up to $97 per person) as part of their all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean or the Bahamas. Through its "Passport Included" promotion, guests traveling to any of SuperClubs' Caribbean or Bahamian properties next year will have the passport renewal or application costs credited to the price of their all-inclusive vacation, if booked by Nov. 20.

Poolside during spring break at SuperClubs' Breezes Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica

This is a great promotion, considering new passport regulations are due to go into effect January 1, 2007.

These regulations will require U.S. citizens to show their passports when they re-enter the United States after visiting Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean.

Personally, I find my passport of great use as my main photo ID, whether necessary or not. Do your clients a favor and suggest they get their own passports. For more info, call 800-GO-SUPER or visit www.superclubs.com.

Divi Shuffles the Deck

Divi Resorts announced that it will close the Divi Tiara Beach Resort on Cayman Brac September 23 to focus on the company's expansion plans. Divi broke ground earlier this year on a new development at Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort in Aruba, slated to be completed by March 2008, and in August announced plans for a second hotel in Bonaire, also scheduled to open in 2008.

Club Med La Caravelle to Re-Open

After an estimated $29 million in renovations and upgraded services, the new family-friendly Club Med La Caravelle in Guadeloupe, West Indies, will open on December 16. The resort will be even more accessible when Delta adds direct flights between Atlanta and Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe on Wednesdays and Saturdays, effective December 13. Eleven major gateways and 195 North American cities, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Montreal, offer connecting flights with minimal layover time. For more information, visit www.clubmedpress.com or call 800-CLUBMED.