Fresh from launching its first Caribbean offerings in November,
Pleasant Holidays is already looking to expand.
The Westlake Village, Calif.-based wholesaler expects to add the
Dominican Republic in the first quarter of 2003, according to Bob
Froio, vice president of product development.
In November, Pleasant started selling trips to 70 properties in
six destinations Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman, St.
Lucia and the Bahamas in its inaugural Caribbean season.
After shying away from the market, Pleasant is now going in with
all its muscle.
“We had investigated going into the Caribbean several years
ago,” Froio said. “So we had already done our homework.”
Pleasant’s air partners include Air Jamaica, Delta, United, US
Airways and the recently added American, which will offer flights
from gateways west of Chicago.
On the ground, Pleasant is representing a broad mix of
properties, ranging from luxury resorts to mid-priced hotels.
For example, on Grand Cayman, the offerings include the Hyatt
Regency Grand Cayman Resort & Villas and the Westin Casuarino
Resort & Spa, as well as Comfort Suites and Holiday Inn
properties. The offerings are also diverse on St. Lucia, where the
list includes the Royal St. Lucian, the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach
Resort and the Treasure Island Resort.
Pleasant is working with 31 hotels and resorts on Jamaica,
featuring Sandals and Beaches all-inclusive properties.
In Puerto Rico, Pleasant is booking such facilities as The
Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino, the Wyndham El San
Juan Hotel & Casino, Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort & Country
Club, the Embassy Suites Dorado and the Park Plaza Normandie
“They’re not just going upscale,” said Yolanda Figueroa, West
Coast regional director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Like
the other destinations included in the effort, Puerto Rico will be
cooperating with Pleasant on advertising and marketing support,
In fact, many Caribbean destinations are looking to establish a
stronger West Coast presence.
“They [Pleasant] are a perfect partner,’ said Marcial F. Ibarra,
director of North America for the Aruba Tourism Authority. Pleasant
Holidays is working with 10 properties in Aruba, including the
Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino, the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort
& Casino and the all-inclusive Divi Aruba Beach Resort.
“If they can do for the Caribbean half of what they did for
Hawaii, we’d be very happy,” Ibarra said.
So far, Jamaica and the Bahamas have generated the most
interest, but St. Lucia has been a “pleasant surprise,” Froio said.
Buzz over the new Sandals Grande St. Lucian, which Sandals acquired
from Hyatt and reopened earlier this year, is helping drive
interest in St. Lucia, Froio added.