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In this August 2011 issue:

1. INTRO: First Ever....
2. SPECIALS: Share A Charter To St. Barths For $250 Per Seat
3. ARTICLE: Tapping Into New Markets: BRAZIL [2/2]
4. SPONSOR MESSAGE: CheapoAir
5. NEWS ITEM: Inter-Island Tourism Observatory Meeting Held
6. TRAVEL TIP: How To Avoid Bagage Bungles
7. AGENDA: State of the Tourism Industry Conference 15-17 Sept. 2011
8. ADVERTISEMENT: AirStMaarten/AirSXM.com Merchandising
9. CUSTOMER SERVICE: How To Book With AirStMaarten

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INTRO: First Ever...
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Dear friends and clients,

In a first ever "State of the Industry" Conference organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in Saint Martin, it has been announced that the CEO of British Airways will be the keynote speaker addressing the conference.

British Airways is once again supporting the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) with Keith Williams, chief executive giving the key note speech at the first State of the Industry Conference, taking place in Saint Martin between September 14-17, 2011.

Keith Williams’ speech will follow last year’s address by Willie Walsh at the Leadership Strategy Conference and highlights British Airways’ commitment to the Caribbean, whose economy is very dependent on tourism.

Commenting on his forthcoming visit, Keith Williams said: “Together with our friends and colleagues in the Caribbean, we look forward to reinforcing the region’s position as a luxury leisure destination. With such a diverse range of islands, it’s no surprise that these routes continue to be a firm favourite for British and international travellers. British Airways is proud to be flying to more destinations in the Caribbean than any other European airline.”

Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, said: “The CTO is delighted to welcome Mr. Williams to the region and we are honoured that he has found the time to speak at the conference in what must be a very busy first year for him. British Airways has reinforced its position as a truly committed partner in the Caribbean with the introduction of new routes and frequencies this year and we are keen to know how we can support the airline to bring further benefits to our region.”

“The 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 and of course BA will play a major part in this.”

Keith Williams became British Airways’ chief executive in January 2011, following the airline’s merger with Iberia. He also sits on the Board of the two airlines’ parent company, International Airlines Group. As chief financial officer of British Airways over the previous five years, he played a leading part in the airline’s achievement of a record operating margin in 2007, before steering it through the worst recession in its history.

I am personally looking forward to attending this conference.

In the meantime you can read about news coming out of my new favorite market, Brazil. I might even take a course to learn to speak Portuguese.

Happy readings!

Terrance Rey

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2. SPECIALS: Share A Charter To St. Barths For $250 Per Seat
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Air St. Maarten Shared Charters Share-A-Charter Cartoon (c) 2011

For more information about our Shared Charters and to see the constantly updated Shared Charters Schedule online, visit http://www.SharedCharters.com

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3. ARTICLE: Tapping Into New Markets: BRAZIL [2/2]
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Tapping Into New Markets: BRAZIL

The Caribbean needs to tap into new markets to secure future

by Terrance Rey

With the recent announcement that Brazil’s TAM Airlines and LAN of Chile have plans for a merger that would create Latin America’s largest airline, we may see the opening of new market for the Caribbean: BRAZIL.

The two airlines — both the biggest in their respective nations — said their memorandum of understanding was nonbinding, with approval needed from shareholders of both companies and regulatory agencies.

They said the two airlines would retain their individual identities, with TAM’s headquarters remaining in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and LAN’s in Santiago, Chile.

“The group would be among the leading airline groups in the world in terms of size, profitability and market reach,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The merged company, to be known as LATAM Airlines Group, would include LAN and its affiliates in Peru, Argentina and Ecuador; Lan Cargo and its affiliates; TAM Lineas Aereas SA; TAM Mercosur and all other holdings of LAN and TAM.

The airlines said the combined airline group would provide passenger services to more than 115 destinations in 23 countries. The airlines of the group would operate a fleet of more than 220 aircraft and have more than 40,000 employees.

Last year, the carriers had combined revenues of US$8.5 billion, carried more than 45 million passengers and transported 832,000 tons of cargo.

The statement said LAN Airlines SA would be renamed LATAM Airlines Group SA and absorb TAM. TAM’s shareholders would be offered 0.90 share of common stock of LATAM for each share of TAM.

Under the deal, TAM would continue to operate as a Brazilian company with its own structure. The current holdings of LAN Airlines SA would operate as an independent business unit within the group — and be referred to as LAN Airlines.

Mauricio Rolim Amaro, currently vice chairman of the board of directors at TAM, would be chairman of the board of directors of LATAM. Enrique Cueto, currently CEO of LAN, would serve as LATAM’s chief executive, the statement said.

“Together, LAN and TAM will be able to offer new destinations that neither company could have supported on its own,” said Marco Bologna, CEO of TAM. “This will position us to compete with the foreign carriers that continue to increase service to our region, while creating new jobs in our home countries.” 

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5. NEWS ITEM: Inter-Island Tourism Observatory Meeting Held
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Creation of Tourism Observatory Discussed at Inter-island Meeting

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

PHILIPSBURG--An exploratory meeting was held last week between the tourism authorities of St. Maarten/St. Martin and St. Barths at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications on the Dutch side with a view to creating a tourism "observatory" funded through the European INTERREG IV programme.

Anguilla was also invited but was unable to take part in the meeting which was convened on the initiative of Mr. Nils Dufau, Vice-President of the Collectivité of St. Barths, Director of Tourism in St. Barths Mrs. Inès Bouchaut-Choisy, and Dr. Olivier Dehoorne, Master of Conferences at the University of Antilles and French Guiana and Member of Laboratory in Martinique, who presented the project to the participants.

The meeting's purpose was "to create, based on statistics and surveys, a structure allowing information exchanges which would serve to share the means of promotion with an objective to value the specificities and personalities of each island, creating attractions on each, and with the synergy created offer a joint tourism product for each island or territory that can be offered to visitors on stopovers," the French side press release stated.

"For us this meeting was more to do with listening to the presentation and finding out if the four 'islands' can work together on promotion," explained Dutch side Tourism Director May-Ling Chun. "Nothing was set in stone. It was more of a brain storming session to see what the needs of each island are."

She added: "The idea is that if the four 'islands' can combine together and they come up with surveys to analyse how we can promote ourselves better then there are possibilities to receive European funding if we do it cooperatively."

Asked what was meant by an observatory she said it was whatever mechanism or system they would use to collect data.

Joining May-Ling Chun in the Dutch side delegation was Angélique Martes- Romou, Assistant to Minister of Tourism Franklin Meyers.

The French side delegation attending the meeting included Vice-President Louis Jeffry who is also a member of the French side tourism board (EPIC), President of the St. Martin Tourism Office Ida Zin Ka Ieu, Assistant Director of the Economic Department of the Collectivité Pierre Brangé, and Director of Tourism in this department, Stéphanie Bessière.

INTERREG IV programme (2007-2013) provides funding for inter-regional cooperation and is implemented under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The fund was set up in 1975 and grants financial assistance for development projects. The overall objective of INTERREG IV programme is to improve the effectiveness of regional policies.

Published in The Daily Herald 

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6. TRAVEL TIP: How To Avoid Bagage Bungles
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How To Avoid Bagage Bungles

Take the luggage, leave the bagage behind

Losing your luggage can be one of the worst experiences you will ever go through. When you get to your destination ready to hit the beach or the pool and all you have is the clothes on your back, losing your luggage can ruin your trip and put a serious dent in your pocket book.

There are however a number of different solutions that will keep you from losing your luggage. By taking just a few extra precautions before your trip you can greatly increase the chances of keeping your Bric’s luggage safe thus preventing the phantasmal phenomenon of the baggage bungle.

One of the first things that you can do to prevent your Kipling luggage from getting lost is to put a name tag on it. A lot of people have luggage that is nearly identical to the next guy’s so this one little thing can help out quite a bit. Also, put on a unique ribbon or other identifying marker to help your luggage stick out.

Additionally, sometimes the airline’s luggage tag can get ripped off during the handling process. If this happens they would have no way to identify the bag which means they would immediately send it to the lost bag counter. So while this is an often overlooked precaution, it is one of the leading reasons for lost luggage. As a side note to this, always remove old airline tags. Old tags can confuse readers and handlers alike – plus, if your luggage gets lost because of this easily preventable mistake, you’re not going to happy.

Be practical about the trip your bag will take on its quest for your destination. Think like a baggage handler and think about what happens to that bag after it’s put on that conveyor belt behind the counter. If you arrive only minutes before the flight departs, you greatly increase your chances of losing your luggage. The bag can only move so fast and often bags that are late don’t get put on that last cart out to the plane and are left behind. If you get there nice and early, they will be one of the first ones on the cart and one of the first on the plane which increases your luggage’s chances of seeing you on the other side. Also, and for the same reasons, always allow plenty of time between connecting flights. Connections create more lost luggage than nearly any other issue so be careful.

The final and best solution to avoid lost luggage is simply to carry-on. Unfortunately this is not always an option, but the more efficiently you can pack and the more niceties you can go without, the better chances you will have of getting that bag on the plane. So implement these strategies before your next trip and keep your luggage safe!

Source: AltmanLuggage.com

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7. AGENDA: State of the Tourism Industry Conference 15-17 Sept. 2011
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CTO Tourism Conference on the State of the Industry to be held on Saint Martin on September 15th to 17th.

Award winning journalists to attend CTO conference

~Theme: How to Win in a Competitive Environment~

A number of multiple award winning journalists will be among dozens of leading media who will descend on St. Martin in September for the inaugural State of the Industry conference organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

"The Friendly Island" will host about 50 top journalists from some of the best-known trade, as well as consumer media in Europe, North America and the Caribbean during the September 14-17 conference, the Caribbean's leading tourism information and networking event.

These writers and producers from broadcast, print and online media will provide extensive coverage of the event, as well as the destination. Collectively, they reach several million people and can be influential in driving visitors to the Caribbean.

"We're delighted that the conference is attracting this level of attention from the media. That keeps us on our toes because the journalists won't simply be there to report the news; they'll probe the issues. That stimulates everyone to focus clearly on the challenges and the solutions," said Hugh Riley, the CTO secretary general.

The State of the Industry Conference – organized in collaboration with the St. Martin Tourist Office – brings together tourism interests from the public and private sectors to tackle a number of critical issues including overcoming the hurdles to intra-regional travel, how to use limited resources to the greatest advantage, how to influence the affluent travellers, and being truly competitive. One of the sessions, "Communication Means Business" will pay particular attention to the value of clear, accurate dissemination of information around the world, using a vast array of media channels.

The inaugural State of the Industry Conference – which has as its theme: How to Win in a Competitive Environment - is the CTO's industry convocation of Caribbean tourism practitioners and strategic partners. It builds on the success of the Leadership Strategy Conference held in Barbados last year, and satisfies a need felt among the membership, including travel agent partners, for such a gathering, annually.

The general conference sessions will be preceded by a series of meetings on September 14 and 15 involving ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, as well as private sector tourism partners. The conference headquarters' hotel is Le Domaine on French St. Martin.

For more information, the programme and to register, visit the CTO website at OneCaribbean.org.

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9. CUSTOMER SERVICE: How To Book With AirStMaarten
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Booking Procedure & Reservation Information

Submit a reservation request online at www.airsxm.com. Once we receive your request, we will send you a Reservation Offer for your consideration. Once you accept our proposal, we will require payment. You can use our credit card form to send us your credit card information. We accept all major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. You can also pay by bank transfer, check, cash or Paypal. Once payment is received, we will book the commercial flight or private charter and send you a Reservation Confirmation.

If you have requested additional services such as VIP Transfer Services, we will send you a Final Confirmation containing all details of your travel itinerary and services booked. And that's how you book with AirStMaarten.

Other Customer Service Resources:
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Island Concierge Services on St. Maarten and St. Barths
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