St Martin to Host Caribbean Tourism Organization Conference

The French Caribbean destination of St Martin will make history when it hosts the first state of the industry conference organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in September.

President of the St Martin Tourism Authority, Ida Zin-Ka-Ieu, and the CTO secretary general, Hugh Riley, made the announcement at a joint news conference. The event was also attended by Edward Dest, the marketing manager of Dutch St Maarten’s tourism bureau and Lisa Noel, the product development assistant, also of Dutch St Maarten.

“The Caribbean Tourism Organization is thrilled that St Martin has taken this opportunity to demonstrate its creativity to the Caribbean and the world by hosting our first ever state of the industry conference,” said Riley.

“We are excited about the event and we are confident that St Martin will make itself and the Caribbean proud.”

The September 14th-17th conference will look at the current state of the Caribbean tourism industry and how to deal with issues that impact on the sector, with a view to building for the future. Bringing together policymakers, executives and tourism industry professionals, this conference will mark the premiere State of the Industry Conference for CTO, who represents tourism for over 30 Caribbean countries.

This year’s conference will focus on the themes of beating the global recession and the ways to succeed within a competitive environment. Organized in part with the Saint-Martin Tourist Office, the event will also demonstrate the ways in which the Caribbean has overcome current economic challenges and how they are continuing to improve local tourism. Topics to be covered will include maximizing on limited resources, how to influence the affluent traveler, and tips on being competitive.

This conference will also see the return of the Tourism Youth Congress at which Caribbean youth will debate issues of concern to the tourism industry.

“This is a very important conference which deals with a number of issues that are relevant to St Martin and the Caribbean tourism sector,” added Ms. Zin-Ka-Ieu. “We are very pleased that the CTO has chosen St Martin to host this historic event.”

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency.

RCI and Orange Lake Resorts Renew Long-Standing Affiliation

RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands, and Orange Lake Resorts, home to Holiday Inn Club Vacations, announced a renewal of their affiliation agreement that continues a nearly 30-year business relationship.

“We’ve enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with RCI, who through the decades has been a leader and innovator in the timeshare exchange community,” stated Don Harrill, president and CEO of Orange Lake Resorts. “As they continue to build on an already impressive collection of high-quality destination options for our members to enjoy, we are pleased that our growing resort network remains part of their worldwide exchange portfolio.”

Holiday Inn Club Vacations’ resorts are strategically located to give vacationers access to top attractions in the U.S., from world-renowned Orlando theme parks and Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, to the snow-covered peaks of Vermont and beautiful waters of Lake Geneva, Wis. The family-friendly resorts feature activities and amenities to provide visitors memorable vacation experiences, such as special activities and events, swimming pools, on-site restaurants, fitness centers, mini golf and lake or beach access.

“We are very pleased to continue our relationship with Holiday Inn Club Vacations, which began with the affiliation of Orange Lake Resort almost three decades ago,” said Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI. “The vacation experience provided at their six high-quality resorts is in line with the types of vacations that our members have come to expect. Over the years our companies have grown together to create a strong alliance that benefits both members and owners. We look forward to more great things to come at these beautiful resorts.”

RCI’s exchange programs offer many benefits to Orange Lake Resorts’ owners and all RCI members. Those who belong to The Registry Collection program are offered a world of luxury vacation opportunities and experiences at many of the most desirable resort destinations around the world. They also enjoy special services including a personal concierge to assist them 24/7, a Reservation Consultant for trip planning and a unique Guest Certificate program, among other benefits.

RCI Points members enjoy the advantages of exchanging with the worldwide leader in vacation exchange and the world’s first global points-based exchange program, which allows flexible exchange for stays from as little as one or two days to as many as 21 days. To further enhance their vacation experience, RCI Points members have the opportunity to upgrade to a Points Platinum membership, which offers opportunities for automatic upgrades, priority exchange privileges and a myriad of exciting new travel and lifestyle benefits.

Shell Vacations Partners with Interval International to Enhance Services

Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services and an operating business of Interval Leisure Group, and Shell Vacations LLC, one of the shared ownership industry’s largest and most successful independent resort developers, have announced a long-term master affiliation agreement.

This encompasses 24 unique Shell Vacations-operated or -affiliated resorts in the United States, Canada, and Mexico that will enhance Interval’s quality global exchange network. The latest addition to Shell Vacations’ impressive portfolio is the iconic Park Manor Suites in San Diego, California, which has been renamed Inn at the Park to maintain brand recognition within the resort collection. All properties that the company develops, acquires, or services during the term of the contract will be included.

Shell Vacations has also selected Interval to provide points-based reservations and a comprehensive package of other customized services, benefits, and programs for its members. The seamless integration will leverage Interval’s infrastructure and supplement Shell Vacations’ resources.

“The Interval team embraced our entrepreneurial spirit and passion for innovation. They have an exceptional focus on quality and that coupled with our desire to continually create new products results in a ‘win-win’ situation,” said Sheldon H. Ginsburg, chairman and CEO of Shell Vacations LLC.

“We are very proud that Shell Vacations has chosen Interval to complement the state-of-the-art programs and services that it has long delivered to its members,” said Craig M. Nash, chairman, president, and CEO of Interval Leisure Group.

“As one of the most respected independent brands in shared ownership, Shell has been at the forefront of creating flexible-use products that today are emulated by many in the industry. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Shell Vacations team to grow our businesses.”

Tracy L. Sherles, president and chief operating officer of Shell Vacations LLC, added, “The Shell team is very excited to embark on this new partnership. Interval’s penchant for quality and its clever approach to service delivery are impressive. This relationship will enhance every aspect of Shell Vacations’ business, from sales and marketing support to member benefits and services through to superior portfolio performance.”

Shell Vacations operates Shell Vacations Club (SVC), an innovative points-based vacation club for some 65,000 members. Effective January 2, 2012, these consumers will be enrolled as members of Interval International, entitling them to a host of year-round benefits, including the opportunity to redeem their points for stays at resorts in Interval’s network.

SVC members will also become Interval Gold® members, and enjoy a number of upgraded benefits such as ShortStay Exchange(SM); discounts on resort Getaways; special offers at hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets worldwide; complimentary Hertz #1 Gold® membership; and access to a personal concierge service available 24/7 via phone and email.

Black Enterprise Includes Marriott in Top 40 Best Companies for Diversity

For the seventh year in a row Marriott International has been recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “40 Best Companies for Diversity.” The July feature article highlighted Marriott for its employee base, board of directors and supplier diversity efforts.

“We are honored to be recognized for our diversity and inclusion initiatives. We strive to create an inclusive environment where the talents and unique experiences of our employees worldwide can flourish." said Jimmie Paschall, global diversity officer and senior vice president, external affairs.

“When our employees feel respected and valued, we know that they’ll make our guests, suppliers, owners and franchisees feel the same way too. We want to build on the success of our longstanding commitment to diversity in the U.S. while striving to reach our vision of embedding diversity and inclusion so deeply into our organization that it is integral to how we do business in the global community.”

In 2003, Marriott’s Board of Directors established the Committee for Excellence, chaired today by board member Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, to monitor the progress of the company’s diversity initiatives.

To date, Marriott has spent $2.6 billion with diverse-owned businesses, more than doubling its 2005 goal, and has more than 586 diverse-owned hotels that are open for business.

The company continues to be recognized for its diversity and inclusion achievements. This year, Marriott was ranked first in supplier diversity on DiversityInc’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” list and named Company of the Year by LatinaStyle.

Known throughout the industry for his hands-on management style, J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc., has built a highly regarded culture that recognizes the value of Marriott employees. Today, approximately 300,000 employees are serving guests in Marriott managed and franchised properties throughout the world.

From Boston to Palm Beach, from Hilton Head to Park City, from Aruba to Thailand you can literally follow Marriott's rising star around the globe. Timeshare rentals, timeshare exchanges and timeshare resales are all here to give you the distinctive excellence of a Marriott vacation experience.

RCI Launches Exclusive Platinum Membership Package

RCI has unveiled an exciting and enhanced version of its membership program. RCI Platinum is a premium tier of RCI membership that offers an exclusive range of privileges and lifestyle benefits that its members can enjoy both on vacation and at home.

The new lifestyle program, which follows the company’s innovative transformation of its timeshare exchange program by offering trading power transparency to its Weeks members, is designed to make planning and taking that all-important vacation even easier and more enjoyable.

Membership benefits include Priority Access to vacations in highly sought-after destinations, opportunities for free unit upgrades, complimentary secure luggage tracking and substantial savings on RCI transactions, travel arrangements, theatre, dining, attractions, days out and more.

Sean Lowe, RCI’s managing director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI), said: “Timeshare owners are always looking for more value from their exchange provider and RCI Platinum will provide just that – new opportunities for priority access and special member discounts.

“RCI Platinum membership will offer tremendous lifestyle benefits that our members can use and enjoy in a variety of different ways.”

“As the inventor of timeshare exchange, RCI is always looking for ways to develop and enhance its products and services to give our members the best experiences and exceed the expectations of our resort affiliates,” added Lowe.

“RCI Platinum is an enhanced tier of RCI membership that brings a range of fantastic benefits to build on our popular – and well-established – Weeks and Points products. It essentially offers a new level of luxury to what is already an exclusive club.”

Lowe said the move had partly come in response to member demand for an elite product that would reflect an even greater element of luxury.

“We’ve listened to our members’ comments and responded with what I believe is a terrific new product,” he added. “We’re excited to continue delivering what our members ask for with innovative enhancements and dozens of lifestyle benefits that we’ll continue to build upon and expand going forward.”