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V.I. OFFERS MORE TIME TO 'STAY AND PLAY'

Dec. 19, 2001 – The Tourism Department is extending the territory's "Stay and Play, We'll Pay!" vacation promotion through Dec. 25. It was to have expired Dec. 15.
Christmas Day is the deadline by which bookings must be made. Travel may be anytime through next March 31, the same deadline initially in effect.
In launching the promotion in early November, the Tourism Department announced that at least 32 hotels, resorts and inns would participate. The promotion offers two incentives: Guests get a $200 traveler's check upon arrival — a maximum of two to a room — and anyone who books a stay of three or more nights — a requirement to qualify for the $200 — also gets another night's stay for free. As it turned out, two more St. Croix properties came aboard, for a total of 34.
The deal took effect for travel starting Dec. 1, with the properties able to impose blackout periods. Word of the deadline extension was circulated nationwide Wednesday in a release distributed by Martin Public Relations, the territory's mainland p.r. agency. The department "decided to extend discounted accommodations to visitors in search of the perfect winter vacation," the release states.
The traveler's check promotion is being funded through the Tourism Department's $6.5 million "Sea to Shining Sea" marketing effort launched to counter the drop in visitor arrivals and cancellation of bookings that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Partnering in the promotion are the hotels that are providing the free fourth night of accommodations and eight tour operators that sell packages to travel agents and in some cases directly to the public.
Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards had said last week that she might extend the booking deadline. Also last week, hotelier Richard Doumeng, who recently resigned as president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, said tour operators had sold "well less than half" of the 3,750 available packages and that he expected the cutoff date to be extended to Dec. 31.
Chantal Richards, Tourism assistant marketing director, said Wednesday that the promotion is available to a maximum of 7,500 participants, meaning the number of people who would be eligible to receive the traveler's checks, rather than to a maximum number of rooms. Asked how many of those remain to be sold, she replied, "I can't give you an accurate number right now. I get numbers every three days, and this is a middle day."
However, she added, "Obviously we haven't used all the money" for traveler's checks, "or we couldn't have extended the promotion." In response to Doumeng's comment that less than half the available bookings had been sold, she said, "I don't think it's less than half. I know that there was still enough to continue for another 10 days. The commissioner did not want to extend it to Dec. 31 because she did not want to get into a situation where they were overselling."
The Martin release states that guests also will "receive a coupon booklet for savings valued up to $1,500." Chantal Richards said Wednesday that the booklets are available only for St. Thomas and St. John visitors and were put together by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.
To publicize the promotion, Chantal Richards said, the department ran commercials "on cable TV nationally — Discovery, A&E" — rotating the toll-free telephone numbers for the tour operators and did a national advertising run in the newspaper USA Today. But "it will be up to the tour operators to let people know that we are continuing the promotion," she said. She noted that one operator, Travel Impressions, "released something that came out yesterday in the New York Post."
The promotion has proven popular among the tour operators, Chantal Richards said, and "they asked us to extend it." In fact, she added, "now other destinations are piggy-backing on the traveler's check idea and trying to do the same thing."
The participating tour operators are AA Vacations, Certified Vacations, Classic Customs Vacations, GoGo Worldwide Vacations, Inter-Island Tours, Island Resort Tours, The Mark Travel and Travel Impressions.
The participating properties are:
On St. Thomas — Antilles Resorts-St. Thomas (Crystal Cove, Sapphire Village and Anchorage), Bellavista Scott Hotel, Blazing Villas, Best Western Carib Beach Resort, Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort and Villas, Holiday Inn Windward Passage Hotel, Mafolie Hotel, Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, Palms Court Harborview, Point Pleasant Resort, Ramsey's Guest House, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas, Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina, Secret Harbour Beach Resort and Villas, and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa.
On St. Croix — Antilles Resorts-St. Croix (Colony Cove and Club St. Croix), The Buccaneer, Carrington's Inn, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Frederiksted Hotel, Hibiscus Beach Hotel, Hotel Caravelle, Hotel on the Cay, Innparadise, Pink Fancy Hotel, Sugar Beach Condo Resort, Vacation St. Croix and Villa Margarita.
On St. John — The Westin St. John Resort and Villas.
Meanwhile, V.I. Calling teams of representatives from the territory's hospitality industry have been making presentations to travel agents and other travel partners on the mainland. And the current issue of Modern Bride Magazine lists the territory as one of the top 10 honeymoon destinations in the world, based on its survey of more than 3,000 travel agents.
The "Stay and Play" promotion is not valid for pre-existing reservations and cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion; it is available to U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico residents only.

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Dec. 19, 2001 - The Tourism Department is extending the territory's "Stay and Play, We'll Pay!" vacation promotion through Dec. 25. It was to have expired Dec. 15.
Christmas Day is the deadline by which bookings must be made. Travel may be anytime through next March 31, the same deadline initially in effect.
In launching the promotion in early November, the Tourism Department announced that at least 32 hotels, resorts and inns would participate. The promotion offers two incentives: Guests get a $200 traveler's check upon arrival -- a maximum of two to a room -- and anyone who books a stay of three or more nights -- a requirement to qualify for the $200 -- also gets another night's stay for free. As it turned out, two more St. Croix properties came aboard, for a total of 34.
The deal took effect for travel starting Dec. 1, with the properties able to impose blackout periods. Word of the deadline extension was circulated nationwide Wednesday in a release distributed by Martin Public Relations, the territory's mainland p.r. agency. The department "decided to extend discounted accommodations to visitors in search of the perfect winter vacation," the release states.
The traveler's check promotion is being funded through the Tourism Department's $6.5 million "Sea to Shining Sea" marketing effort launched to counter the drop in visitor arrivals and cancellation of bookings that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Partnering in the promotion are the hotels that are providing the free fourth night of accommodations and eight tour operators that sell packages to travel agents and in some cases directly to the public.
Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards had said last week that she might extend the booking deadline. Also last week, hotelier Richard Doumeng, who recently resigned as president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, said tour operators had sold "well less than half" of the 3,750 available packages and that he expected the cutoff date to be extended to Dec. 31.
Chantal Richards, Tourism assistant marketing director, said Wednesday that the promotion is available to a maximum of 7,500 participants, meaning the number of people who would be eligible to receive the traveler's checks, rather than to a maximum number of rooms. Asked how many of those remain to be sold, she replied, "I can't give you an accurate number right now. I get numbers every three days, and this is a middle day."
However, she added, "Obviously we haven't used all the money" for traveler's checks, "or we couldn't have extended the promotion." In response to Doumeng's comment that less than half the available bookings had been sold, she said, "I don't think it's less than half. I know that there was still enough to continue for another 10 days. The commissioner did not want to extend it to Dec. 31 because she did not want to get into a situation where they were overselling."
The Martin release states that guests also will "receive a coupon booklet for savings valued up to $1,500." Chantal Richards said Wednesday that the booklets are available only for St. Thomas and St. John visitors and were put together by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.
To publicize the promotion, Chantal Richards said, the department ran commercials "on cable TV nationally -- Discovery, A&E" -- rotating the toll-free telephone numbers for the tour operators and did a national advertising run in the newspaper USA Today. But "it will be up to the tour operators to let people know that we are continuing the promotion," she said. She noted that one operator, Travel Impressions, "released something that came out yesterday in the New York Post."
The promotion has proven popular among the tour operators, Chantal Richards said, and "they asked us to extend it." In fact, she added, "now other destinations are piggy-backing on the traveler's check idea and trying to do the same thing."
The participating tour operators are AA Vacations, Certified Vacations, Classic Customs Vacations, GoGo Worldwide Vacations, Inter-Island Tours, Island Resort Tours, The Mark Travel and Travel Impressions.
The participating properties are:
On St. Thomas -- Antilles Resorts-St. Thomas (Crystal Cove, Sapphire Village and Anchorage), Bellavista Scott Hotel, Blazing Villas, Best Western Carib Beach Resort, Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort and Villas, Holiday Inn Windward Passage Hotel, Mafolie Hotel, Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, Palms Court Harborview, Point Pleasant Resort, Ramsey's Guest House, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas, Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina, Secret Harbour Beach Resort and Villas, and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa.
On St. Croix -- Antilles Resorts-St. Croix (Colony Cove and Club St. Croix), The Buccaneer, Carrington's Inn, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Frederiksted Hotel, Hibiscus Beach Hotel, Hotel Caravelle, Hotel on the Cay, Innparadise, Pink Fancy Hotel, Sugar Beach Condo Resort, Vacation St. Croix and Villa Margarita.
On St. John -- The Westin St. John Resort and Villas.
Meanwhile, V.I. Calling teams of representatives from the territory's hospitality industry have been making presentations to travel agents and other travel partners on the mainland. And the current issue of Modern Bride Magazine lists the territory as one of the top 10 honeymoon destinations in the world, based on its survey of more than 3,000 travel agents.
The "Stay and Play" promotion is not valid for pre-existing reservations and cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion; it is available to U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico residents only.