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Family Holidays in the Carribean TRADE WINDS The Caribbean faces


its challenges but its line-up of tempting attributes leaves it well-placed to remain a favourite amongst long-haul travellers, says Emily Ashwell


I


f ever there was a perfect antidote to the predictably gloomy British winter it’s the promise of a holiday


in the Caribbean. With excellent beaches and gentle


seas, direct flights and superb hotels, it’s no wonder the destination is a firm long-haul favourite with the British market, including families. There’s a huge range of family hotels


on offer, from Jolly Beach Resort and Spa at the budget end to groups such as Beaches and Breezes to luxury resorts such as Jumby Bay. The Now Resorts and Spas brand


entered the Dominican Republic for the first time last year. Part of AM Resorts, the 642-room property called Now Larimar Punta Cana opened in May. It includes an Explorers’ Club for children (three to 12 years). Many kids’ clubs are free and they


usually offer a broad and innovative range of activities to suit all ages. Outside space is usually good; many having their own pools. Windjammer Landing in Saint


Lucia has launched Snuba Doo, a type of snorkelling that gives youngsters an accessible dive experience. Buccament Bay Resort on St Vincent is running masterclasses this year with the Harlequin Sports Academy and Liverpool FC International Football Academy Soccer Schools. For teens, all rooms at Beaches


Turks & Caicos now feature a personal Xbox® 360 game console. St James’s Club on Antigua will be hosting its storytelling events together with Puffin books and Virgin Holidays during school holidays this year. It has also recently introduced Little Explorers packs for children. Seemingly an easy sell, the Caribbean


still has its challenges. Efforts to get the Air Passenger Duty (APD) banding of the Caribbean changed have so far been unsuccessful and the APD on economy fares will increase from £75 to £81 from April. However, according to some agents, such as Travel Counsellor Karen Goldman,


families will compare the overall price. Get your clients a good deal and APD won’t be an issue. And in this tough market hotels are putting fantastic deals out to market – just look at the 45 per cent offer at Grande Pineapple, Antigua, highlighted by Gold Medal elsewhere in this feature. Airlines have had a tough time


with APD and British Airways has blamed the tax for the capacity cuts it has made to the Caribbean this year. However, BA is increasing the number of flights from London


Main picture: On the jetty at Windjammer Landing, Saint Lucia. Inset: teens at Beaches, Turks and Caicos; Windjammer Landing pool


24 February 2012 • www.sellinglonghaul.com


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