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Travel

After spending a few days in Istanbul, Turkey, last week, I was summoned to Izmir, a 45-minute flight to visit my Turkish roommate Kemal with whom I studied at Lester B. Pearson United World College in Canada more than 20 years ago.
 
I hadn't seen Kemal for a decade, so it was great to catch up with him and his new family - Russian wife and seven year-old polyglot son who speaks four languages - English, Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian.

It was awe inspiring to witness the ease with which they seamlessly and creatively interchange language and culture within the family.

Kemal is a successful businessman, no doubt due to his close attention to detail and his gift of planning.

One of the popular hotels in Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean is getting a major upgrade from its new owner.

Canadian businessman Dale Papke said he would spend about US$2.5 million to renovate the recently re-licensed Comfort Suites Ports of Call Resort in Providenciales, which his real estate company recently acquired.

"I am excited. The island itself is starting to get on the radar, our renovations have begun, and we look forward to re-positioning the resort as the premier value-priced resort in the Turks & Caicos Islands," said Papke.

One of the world's largest hotel franchisors sees the Caribbean as a huge opportunity while some hotel companies, twisting and turning in the global business downturn, shy away from the region.

Stephen P. Joyce, president and chief executive officer of Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), is bullish about the Caribbean and believes a large number of independent hotels could benefit from what Choice Hotels has to offer.
 
Presenting options for success during sluggish economies, he pointed to the extensive mid-range offerings of Choice Hotels and, at the higher end, its popular Ascend Collection membership program.

The U.S. Virgin Islands government has heralded the importance of overseas-based Virgin Islanders, Caribbean nationals and the intra-regional Caribbean market to the development of its tourism product and experience.

During the Caribbean Tourism Organization's Caribbean Week in New York, held earlier this month, Kay Milliner-Kitchens, Director of Sales of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, presented the natural beauty, history and allure of their islands to Caribbean-Americans during a special CTO meeting that focused on the importance of the Caribbean Diaspora.

"We in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been blessed by the goodwill and support we have received throughout the years by our nationals and our Caribbean neighbors," said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, who indicated that her Department has embarked on a strategic campaign to encourage Caribbean nationals to promote and visit the islands.

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