Sandals & Beaches Outlines Response to Passport Problem

Sandals and Beaches Resorts has outlined their approach to dealing with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, or, as it is commonly called, the passport problem. The company is pursuing ongoing partnerships with the Caribbean Hotel Association, conducting in-house reservations training so that every caller is told about the change in passport rules and how this will affect air travelers to the Caribbean; including printed advisories in every document package sent; and ensuring that the company's Certified Sandals Specialists and Preferred Sandals Agency partners are fully aware of the new requirements. "Certainly we are disappointed in this legislation that gives the cruise lines an unfair advantage in how Americans may visit the Caribbean," said John Lynch, executive vice president of Unique Vacations, the worldwide representatives of Sandals and Beaches Resorts. "Forward bookings into 2007 are not as strong as we had projected. As we look deeper, particularly within the months of February through April, the traditional winter family travel season, Beaches' bookings are decidedly down. Also, since most American children do not have passports, we are attributing the decline in bookings to the recent U.S. passport legislation. We will continue working with our partners in providing information about the new rules and strengthening the appeal of a land-based Caribbean vacation."