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WTM: 7 hours in the Caribbean

TravelWeekly.co.uk 
Picture: Image Bank

YOU’VE battled public transport, deciphered your map and
finally made it to the Caribbean section of World Travel Market. So
sip a mudslide cocktail, have a slice of banana bread, chill to the
sounds of a steel band, and soak up the vibe like the sea is
lapping your toes on a golden beach – and try not to think of
your journey home.

Anguilla
11am
: start the day in idyllic Anguilla, which is
rebranding under The Anguilla Experience – Feeling is
Believing. Learn about the new Charming Escapes of Anguilla
programme featuring small, family-run guesthouses.

Also drawing your attention to the stand are details of the new
Temenos St Regis Retreat and Golf Course, a $250 million hotel and
villa complex with an 18-hole golf course, opening in December
2005, and the island’s choice of luxury villas. A gem in this
sector is the avant-garde African Sapphire villa – complete
with 10 staff – which opened recently at the Altamer
Resort.

US Virgin Islands
11:30am
: in the UK, the US Virgin Islands are not as
familiar as other Caribbean islands, so here’s your chance to
find out more about them on the destination’s stand. Apart
from a new marketing campaign planned for the UK, commissioner of
tourism Pamela Richards will be outlining the country as three
unique experiences – St Thomas, St Croix and St John –
within one exotic destination.

St Lucia
12pm
: time for some sustenance and a little sport. So head
for St Lucia which is welcoming visitors with drinks and St Lucian
banana bread.

The island and its neighbours are all talking cricket –
the World Cup series takes place  in the Caribbean in 2007 –
and this is your chance to be ahead of the game. St Lucia is
running a cricket-themed interactive competition at its stand for
agents with a prize of a trip for two to watch the England team
play in St Lucia. Flights, accommodation and tickets to the match
are included.

Bahamas
1pm:
visit the Bahamas to learn more about the 700 islands
that make up the archipelago. Copies of a new guide to the
destination’s Out Islands will be on the stand, while the
director of the Bahamas Out Islands Promotion Board, Kerry
Fountain, will answer questions. Make sure you also enquire about
the website and new agent training programme. But it’s not
all work – sample a rum punch to keep you going.

St Vincent and the
Grenadines
2pm:
if you’ve never been to the picturesque islands
of St Vincent and the Grenadines, this could be your chance. The
tourist board is holding a prize draw for agents to win places on a
fam trip next year. Simply drop off your business card at its stand
and keep your fingers crossed when the draw takes place on the last
day of WTM.

If you’re there on Wednesday afternoon join the party when
the National Steel Band Champions will be performing on the stand.
There’s nothing like drumming up a bit of Caribbean carnival
atmosphere.

Cayman Islands
3pm
: head to the Cayman Islands stand for a demonstration
of its new on-line agent training programme in conjunction with the
Travel Weekly Academy, which will go live on November 18. Agents
can sign up to become specialists and follow the 10-module course,
which involves multiple-choice tests and incentives along the
way.

Pick up a new DVD about the Caymans and, if it’s not too
early, indulge in a secret-recipe Caribbean mudslide cocktail,
guaranteed to add a little kick to your day.

St Kitts
4pm
: try a taste of St Kitts from 4pm on Monday and
Wednesday when the cocktails will be flowing – and pick up a
recipe for the island’s new national dish, created to mark 21
years of independence this year.

That’s not all. Test your musical skills when you join in
the steel band lessons, and don’t forget to drop off your
business card for your chance to win a watercolour painting
launching the island’s new branding, St Kitts – the
next Caribbean adventure. Then grab a new guide to the island,
produced by Travel Weekly, and leave time for a chat about new
developments over a rum punch or two.

Party time
5pm:
on Wednesday it’s time to celebrate at the
Caribbean Sunset Hour cocktail party with the entire Caribbean
Village. After all, you deserve a few drinks after signing up for
the Caribbean Training Programme, which costs £19.99. If
you’ve signed up you’ve already been convinced about
the comprehensive training scheme, with opportunities to join fam
trips, and been promised a copy of the new Caribbean Tourism
Organisation Travelfax, packed with essential information and
designed with agents in mind.

Now grab a rum punch or two and soak up the warm West
Indies welcome.

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