Anguilla is seeing an uptick in bookings leading into the winter 2009/10 season, an indication that the challenging travel environment may be giving way to pent-up demand and cautiously-optimistic economic news. According to the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB), some key tour operators are reporting brisk business for the last quarter of the year.

“The fall and holidays have picked up significantly,” said Jenna Brunelli, product manager of LibGo WorldWide Travel, a leading wholesaler in the United States with the largest inventory of Anguilla product. “Anguilla is one of our strongest honeymoon destinations, and that is one market where we have not seen business fall off. People are still getting married even in the down economy.”

The growth is also the result of aggressive marketing efforts on the part of both the public and private sectors. The ATB launched its prix fixe summer promotion in conjunction with a number of hotel partners back in June, and individual properties such as Cap Juluca and Malliouhana Hotel & Spa have also implemented innovative campaigns to spur demand.

Cap Juluca’s recent US$22 million investment in improvements to the property have taken the resort to an even higher standard of excellence. The refinements to all 98 guestrooms, with hand-sewn furnishings, designer label amenities, the latest technology, and the resort’s innovative “Eurobbean” fusion cuisine are making waves in the travel industry. The 28-year old Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report recently published their annual survey of their sophisticated travelers, and their travelers selected Cap Juluca as their #1 Caribbean Beach Resort and ranked the resort #3 worldwide.

Coupled with that, is the recent opening of the Viceroy Anguilla Resort & Residence already creating some buzz in the travel media and among the travel trade with prominent features in the October issues of the prestigious magazines Elle Décor and Travel + Leisure. With its exceptional fine dining, and state of the art sports and spa facilities, the Viceroy promises to be a noteworthy addition to the island’s tourism product. Its strong December holiday bookings reflect the enthusiasm for both the island of Anguilla and this new resort.

The further expansion of the villa market with the opening of the 5-bedroom villas at CuisinArt Resort and Spa, Rum Punch, Almond Tree, Sand Castle Point, and Black Pearl villas, among others, have also added to the complement of accommodation options on the island.

The reported increase in bookings is encouraging news for us here on Anguilla. I believe it is a demonstration of the travel industry’s confidence in Anguilla as one of the Caribbean’s premiere upmarket tourism destinations,” said Honorable Victor F. Banks, Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, and Tourism. “As we prepare to host our visitors for the 2009/2010 winter season, we are committed through our product enhancement initiatives and customer service programs to ensure that this ‘uptick in bookings’ continues throughout the season.”