A United Kingdom passenger tax increase that affects travelers to the Caribbean was scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 1, despite pressure from airlines, travel agents and passenger groups on the government here.      The Air Passenger Duty (APD) was scheduled to increase by up to 50 percent for some destinations, making family holidays “unaffordable for many,” according to Sir Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic. British Airways has also attacked the increases, saying they threaten the U.K.’s economic recovery and put thousands of jobs at risk.
Jamaica will welcome increased AirTran Airways service for the winter travel season from Baltimore/Washington, starting February 26, 2011. The additional flight, which will operate between Baltimore/Washington and Montego Bay on Saturdays and Sundays, runs through May 1, 2011.   “We welcome the additional nonstop flight from AirTran, which will make it easier for travelers from Baltimore to visit Jamaica this winter season. Just a three-and-a-half hour flight away, Jamaica is an easily accessible warm-weather escape,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch. “Our exciting destination has so much to offer everyone, from our amazing attractions to our diverse accommodations and great cuisine, and with the additional nonstop flights, travelers looking to escape the frigid temperatures of the winter months in the mid-Atlantic area will find it impossible to resist.”
Veteran and award-winning Caribbean hotelier Anthony Bowen has been appointed Regional Managing Director of Elite Island Resorts.CEO of the resort group Robert Barrett announced that the Saint Lucia-based Bowen, who also serves as President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA), has been selected to lead the hospitality company's charge throughout the Caribbean. "Our brand is poised for continued growth (and) with Tony managing that growth in the Caribbean region and Saint Lucia in particular, we are confident of a successful 2011 and far beyond."
Jamaica is projecting solid tourism growth in 2010. Speaking at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean Marketplace 2010 travel trade event, which opened this week in Puerto Rico, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett reported that preliminary figures show that the island’s arrivals increased by four percent in 2009. According to forecasts, arrivals are expected to register a six percent increase in 2010. Minister Bartlett attributed this growth to the foundation the Jamaica Tourist Board and its tourism partners have built over the last few years.
Getting to Jamaica is now a breeze with the launch of Apple Vacations’ nonstop service to Montego Bay (MBJ) from Capital Region International Airport (LAN) in Lansing, MI, on December 26, 2010. The four-hour flight from Lansing, MI, to Jamaica will operate on Sundays through April 24, 2011.