News from the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC)

MIAMI–St. Lucia officials are planning to hold an annual rum and food festival this fall that will highlight the island nation's culinary and musical heritage. The three-day event will run from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29 and cost $500 for each guest, according to the St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association. St Lucia officials made the announcement to a group of journalists gathered for the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference in Miami. The $500 fee does not include airfare or hotel accommodations, but is commissionable for travel agents at 10 percent. "It's the first time we are having an event lead off the winter," said Allen Chastanet, president of the association. "We're trying to highlight the culinary heights we've achieved in St. Lucia." The festival, aimed to attract a 30-something crowd, will include a Rum Pavilion for rum and wine tastings, Caribbean music acts, cooking demonstrations, cigar rolling exhibitions, a rum cruise and three dinners at local restaurants. The music acts include shows from Third World, Monte Alexander, Arrow and others, officials said. In Other News: An Ireland-based development company has signed a letter of intent for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to manage a new 250-room property in St. Lucia, officials for the island nation said. The new Ritz-Carlton, named the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, is expected to open in two years on the southern end of the island and will include an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course.

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