As 2006 becomes reality what will the new year herald for the Caribbean? What did the region achieve in 2005? Caribbean Travel News brings you a round up of the highlights of what has to be termed, turbulent year, in this end of year round up.The Caribbean has faced yet another year of vicious hurricanes—this years storm season was particularly harsh as apparent climate change has altered hurricane patterns, warming water close to shore and creating more intense storms.
Earlier in the year Caribbean Travel News spoke with Met Office International Forecaster, Dave Cox, who said that in his eight and a half years of forecasting he had, “not seen, or at least cannot remember seeing, hurricanes with such force so early into the hurricane season.”
The Caribbean rode out the storms and bounced back with its enduring colour and passion.
One success story on Grenada was the Calabash Hotel and Villas, which took time out to complete a multi-million dollar refurbishment of its 30 suites. Also on Grenada, Spice Island Resort, owned and operated by Caribbean heavy-weight Sir Royston O. Hopkin, rebounded from its devastation with a US$12 million rebuilding project.
“We might have been closed for a year, but fortunately we have not escaped the minds of travel agents and consumers who are booking us with confidence for the winter 2005-2006 season,” said Hopkin.
Had a bad year:
It was not a particularly positive year for Air Jamaica, but as the year comes to close the airline is showing solid signs of growth and stability, reinstating suspended routes and introducing new ones. Things took a nose dive last December when Gordon “Butch” Stewart pulled out of operations, leaving the struggling airline in the hands of the Jamaican government, with Paul Pennicook as a leading director.
Early in the year things appeared to continue to falter but in September Michael Conway was appointed as the company’s new chief executive.
The industry power house appears to be lifting the firm once more—one good indication is the fact that Air Jamaica will start eight weekly non-stop flights between New York’s JFK International Airport and the island of Grenada from February 23, 2006.
Highlights from CTN in 2005:
Butch Stewart: “People That Come Never Expected so Much!”
EXCLUSIVE Interview: Hon. Ricky Skerritt - ‘There’s a Mix in St. Kitts’
The Dominican Republic: The Tale of Two Holidays
Turks and Caicos: Life’s a Beach so Dive Right in
Interview Berthia Parle: ‘This is the Caribbean’s day’
Jamaica: ‘Once you go - you know’
So what can be expected of the Caribbean in 2006?
It is likely that Jamaica will continue its aggressive drive to position itself as the number one choice for UK visitors to the Caribbean.
Virgin will continue to open the flood gates to the mass-market—some see this as a positive move—largely because it creates cheap access to the Caribbean. Others see it as a negative, with cheaper flights taking the edge of what was once a celebrity laden paradise. Whichever way you look at it, Virgin is rapidly becoming the name in the Caribbean.
With air travel becoming increasingly avaiable to the masses is is likely that 2006 will bring more tourists to the Caribbean.