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TRAVEL AGENTS SEE ISLANDS FIRST HAND FOR FREE

Sept. 21, 2002 – The territory's hospitality industry is hoping to reap the rewards of new attention to the Virgin Islands as a vacation destination as a result of hosting hundreds of travel agents for complimentary three-night visits in August.
The fifth annual Travel Agents Month promotion saw 328 agents spend "just under 1,000 room nights" at 12 participating hotels on St. Thomas and St. John, according to a release from the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, which along with its St. Croix counterpart sponsored the program.
Agents also stayed on St. Croix at 10 hotels taking part in the program.
"The concept behind this program is to allow travel agents to visit the Virgin Islands and experience the destinations in the same way that their clients would," Beverly Nicholson, St. Thomas-St. John association executive director, said. "We believe that the most effective way for travel agents to sell the United States Virgin Islands is to see us and experience what we have to offer."
The accommodations participating on St. Thomas were Blazing Villas, Bolongo Bay Beach Club and Villas, Holiday Inn Windward Passage, Marriott Frenchman's Reef, Point Pleasant Resort, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, Sapphire Beach Resort and Marina, Secret Harbour Beach Resort and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa.
Those on St. Croix were the Hotel Caravelle, Carrington's Inn St. Croix, Divi Carina Bay Resort, Frederiksted Hotel, Hibiscus Beach Hotel, Hotel on the Cay, InnParadise, King Christian Hotel, Sugar Beach Condominiums and Tamarind Reef Hotel.
Those on St. John were Gallows Point Resort, Maho Bay Camps and the Westin Resort and Villas.
American Airlines, US Airways and United Airlines offered agents special air fares to visit the Virgin Islands, the release said.
On St. Thomas and St. John, agents received discounts or gifts from AT&T, Awesome Power Boat Rentals, Budget Rent-A-Car, Chalet D'Or, Coral World Marine Park, Islander Taxi, Little Switzerland, Nauti Nymph and Magic Moments, Paradise Point Tramway, Shell Seekers and Virgin Islands EcoTours.
On St. Croix, such incentives were provided by A Boardwalk In Restaurant, Big Beard's Adventure Tours and Gift Shop, Centipede, Mile Mark Water Sports, Olympic Rent a Car, Sonya Jewelry, St. Croix Safari Tours and Violette Boutique.

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