Now that tourism NUMBERS in the Caribbean are fighting their way back to 2008 (pre-downturn) levels, many projects in the region are again picking up steam. Here’s a brief overview of notable new developments from Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) member countries:
Anguilla: Jumeirah, the Dubai-based luxury hotel group, will operate a luxury resort hotel and residences in the south of the island. The Jumeirah Anguilla Resort, on 370 acres of beachfront, is expected to open in the next three years.
Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda finalized arrangements for the new $40 million V.C. Bird International Airport Terminal. Construction will start in September.
The Bahamas: Morgans Hotel Group recently signed on to operate and manage a 300-room luxury lifestyle hotel at the new Baha Mar resort complex being developed on Nassau’s Cable Beach.
Bonaire: Majestic Journeys Bonaire N.V. has reopened at a new location offering more alternative and complementary healing modalities. Retreat packages can be customized, starting with the choice of treatments, detoxifications, healing food plans and educational programs. Local herbal remedies and various organic applications are used to enhance the overall grassroots approach to recovering optimum health and sense of well-being.
The new Blue Mekong Thai Restaurant, which opened a few months ago, does not have a menu; guests have the choice of ordering five, seven or nine courses, which change every three weeks. All courses are served in cups, and go from bland to spicy as the menu progresses. The restaurant is on a second-floor balcony overlooking Kaya Grandi in Kralendijk.
British Virgin Islands: The B.V.I. Tourism Board and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda recently announced the opening of a new super yacht marina in the protected North Sound Bay Virgin Gorda.
Curacao: Substation Curacao has launched Curasub, the world’s first mini-submarine for tourists. It takes visitors 1,000 feet under the sea.
Dominica: In June, Dominica celebrated the completion of segments one through four of the island’s 115-mile-long Waitukubuli National Trail.
Dominican Republic: The Deep Blue Marine Shipwreck Museum recently opened in Samana, and the new runway at Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) is more than 10,000 feet long.
Spice Basket is a cultural village where visitors will discover what is unique about Grenadian culture and learn to respect and share it. Spice Basket consists of five different areas: a restaurant and bar, theater, museum, kiosks and a gift shop.
Jamaica: The Historic Falmouth Cruise Port celebrated its grand opening this spring. The 32-acre, two-berth port includes restaurants, duty-free and boutique shops, a crafts market, offices and residences, all within walking distance. Cruise passengers have access to more than 60 attractions in the surrounding area and in nearby Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
Puerto Rico: The Condado Vanderbilt is scheduled to open this November. The 305-room hotel is being restored to the grandeur of acclaimed architect Whitney Warren’s original 1919 design.
St. Lucia: Among the key hotel developments here is the opening earlier this year of the new boutique Hotel Chocolat, set in the Rabot Estate, a working cocoa plantation. The property has 14 luxury Cocoa Cottages, an infinity pool, massage pavilion, beach access and more. Senator Allen Chastanet, St. Lucia’s minister of tourism and civil aviation, welcomed plans by the British-owned operator for a new Chocolate Factory, to be built, conveniently, next door to Hotel Chocolat.
The Jalousie Plantation is undergoing a $100 million enhancement and will be re-branded and re-launched as The Tides, Sugar Beach late this year. So far, the project has included a gut renovation of its villas, new entry-level Sugar Mill rooms and the construction of a brand-new destination spa.
St. Kitts: Cockleshell Bay, a new resort development, will be set on 150 acres of the island’s picturesque southeast peninsula and will feature a Park Hyatt hotel and residences, as well as a 160-berth Camper & Nicholsons-managed yacht marina, a casino and a selection of world-class restaurants.
St. Maarten: The destination just opened its first national park, Man of War Shoal Marine Park. The area, known as the “Proselyte Reef Complex,” is rich in marine life, including whales, dolphins, sharks and sea turtles.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines: The new Argyle International Airport is expected to open by early 2013 and service direct flights from the U.S., Canada and Europe.
The first phase of Buccament Bay Resort, a new five-star, all-inclusive property by Harlequin Hotels & Resort, opened on St. Vincent in April. Facilities include the Pat Cash Tennis Academy; Liverpool Football Club Soccer School; The Spa, with treatments by ESPA; Harlequin Performing Arts Academy; Trader Vic’s restaurant; Little Harlequins Kids Club; and Diving & Watersports Center.
All of these developments can only mean positive forecasts for the region. In fact, the CTO has reported an overall 5.6 percent increase in arrivals this year and a steady 2 percent growth in visitors from the U.S. market.
|The new, two-berth Falmouth Cruise Port has restaurants, shops and more.|