May 4, 2006 – The V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association will celebrate September as travel agent month, and to thank travel agents for their help in bringing business to the territory, the Hotel Association is offering them three free nights each on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.
The free hotel rooms are part of the association's "It's Just Easier for Travel Agents to get Familiar with the U.S. Virgin Islands" promotion.
The organization is also offering a travel agents sweepstakes that includes airfare and tourism packages to winners.
"If they haven't been to the islands in a long time, it's a good way to update," said Luana Wheatley, association marketing director, on Thursday.
Wheatley said that although the number of travel agents is diminishing due to do-it-yourselfers using the Internet, some travelers still want the personal touch provided by a travel agent.
"This is a way to thank travel agents for still being in business," said Wheatley, who recently met with over 500 travel agents in the northeast United States.
Properties participating in the free nights promotion include Carambola Beach Resort, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Hotel Caravelle, Palms at Pelican Cove, Sugar Beach Condo Resort, and Tamarind Reef Hotel on St. Croix.
On St. John Gallows Point Resort and the Westin St. John Resort and Villas are participating.
St. Thomas hotels include Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, Bolongo Bay Beach Club, Marriott's Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Beach Resorts, Holiday Inn Windward Passage, Paradise Properties and Secret Harbour Beach Resort.
Travel agents must show their valid IATAN card to qualify for the free nights.
Other businesses are offering free items and discounts on tours, meals and car rentals.
Wheatley said that should a hurricane or tropical storm threaten or hit, hoteliers have plans in place to get visitors off-island, so hurricane season shouldn't be a factor for travel agents who decided to take the Hotel Association members up on this offer.
"The hotels will make sure you get out in time," she said.
The sweepstakes gives the winner and a companion a flight on American Airlines, and two nights at both the Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino on St. Croix, and the Secret Harbour Breach Resort on St. Thomas.
On St. Croix, winners will receive spa treatments at the Divi, an island tour by Sweeney Safari Tours, inter-island transportation by Seaborne Airlines, and lunch at Hotel Caravelle. One thousand dollars in cash wraps up the stay.
Winners also get a round of golf at Mahogany Run Golf Course, dinner at Blue Moon restaurant at Secret Harbour, land and sea tours with Coral World Ocean Park, Atlantis Submarine, Paradise Point Tramway and V.I. Ecotours, all on St. Thomas.
The sweepstakes runs from May 22 to Dec. 15, 2006, for travel April 15 to Dec. 15, 2007.
Rules and restrictions apply. Agents will be asked to enter their IATAN number to submit an entry.
To sign up for the free night offer, visit www.sttstjhta.com or call 340 774-6835. Look for sweepstakes sign up details soon on the Web site.
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