Nov. 8, 2005 Brian Majesty of Tropical Shipping told about 25 people attending a St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association meeting Tuesday that his company was going "to turn up the heat" to promote hotel stays on St. Croix.
Tropical Shipping created a program in 2003 — FreeStay Caribbean — to encourage cruise passengers to come back to the Caribbean for land-based vacations. He said that there had not been much promotion of the program for St. Croix, "because, well, the cruise ships quit coming here."
However, he said those promoting the program believe that cruise passengers going to other destinations like St. Thomas, might want to venture to a nearby island.
He said there were five million cruise passengers each year and many were looking for islands to return to for land-based vacations.
Majesty, a resident of St. Croix, said Tropical Shipping saw the program as a way to bring the cruise and hotel industries together in a partnership.
He also admitted there was some self- interest on the part of Tropical Shipping, which ships throughout the Caribbean. He said, "As goes the Caribbean economy, so goes Tropical Shipping."
The promotion is initiated by the distribution of doubloon-like coins with images of a specific island to passengers on the cruise ships.
The coin directs the passenger to FreestayCaribbean.com where hotels and other tourism attractions offer special promotions. Majesty said the Web site had 720,000 hits so far this year.
The promotion is complemented with signs on cruise piers of participating islands. The tag line is always "Come back and stay in the Caribbean."
He mentioned Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Martin, St. Lucia, and Belize are already participating in the promotion.
The promotion is endorsed by local tourism departments and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.
The Hotel Association meeting was held at the Cormorant Beach Club and Hotel. A representative from Cormorant told the group that it was changing its name to The Palms of Pelican Cove.
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