Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Families Are Heading to Caribbean

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Families Are Heading to Caribbean

Article excerpt

WITH local hoteliers prepared to take the Club Med approach in providing all-inclusive packages, the Caribbean is attracting strong demand from British holidaymakers in normally off-peak months running up to early December.

"Although there is doom and gloom everywhere, the last week of August was one of our busiest weeks since we started in 2006," says Steve Garley at Tropical Sky, an operator which batches cheap airfares to the Caribbean with discounted hotels deals into last-minute packages.

Tropical Sky has a pounds 799 lead-in for seven nights all-inclusive at St Lucian by Rex Resorts on St Lucia, which includes non-motorised water sports. However for pounds 1199, all-inclusives at La Source on Grenada include spa treatments, scuba diving, wine with meals and even a nine-hole golf course.

A similar package is being put together for the highly-regarded Le Sport on St Lucia, without the golf but including yoga, spa treatments, archery, fencing and even trampolining.

Garley says. "By including everything in the package, people know exactly how much they will spend".

XL Airways went bust last week in a worrying blow to the travel industry, but it had already decided to axe its charters into Grenada, Tobago, St Kitts, Barbados and St Lucia from the end of October, warning that oil prices had added pounds 100 to the cost of every seat to the Caribbean since this time last year. Travellers who have planned DIY packages could be left out of pocket if hotel bookings are non-refundable.

But Garley says that BA's addition of two extra flights into St Lucia and on to Trinidad in October could ease the shortfall, while Virgin's new weekly service from Manchester into St Lucia this summer also boosted capacity.

Another leading charter airline, Monarch, is finalising plans for a new service from Gatwick to Tobago and Grenada.

Tropical Sky is also linking with bmi to offer great deals on regional departures from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester, with seven-day all-inclusives out of Scotland starting at pounds 699 on selected dates until November 30.

From Belfast, Isle of Man, Glasgow, Norwich, Southampton, that Manchester service by bmi allows all-inclusives from pounds 789 until November 30. …

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