Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2015 Contents A20
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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BRIDGETOWN---The Caribbean welcomed a record
26.3 million tourists in 2014, a 5.3 per cent rise over
the previous year. These visitors spent US$29.2 bil-
lion, itself a record.
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization
(CTO), Richard Sealy, and the secretary general, Hugh
Riley, along with the CTO s director of research,
Winfield Griffith, announced the record performance
at a news conference streamed live to a global audience
from the CTO headquarters yesterday.
"Last year, we received more visitors than ever
before---recording our fifth straight year of growth
as a Region---and visitors spent more money in the
Caribbean than they ever did before," Sealy said.
"There was strong demand throughout 2014 and
I am particularly pleased with our performance during
the summer period when our growth rate was almost
twice that of the summer of 2013," he added.
The 26.3 million visitors represent 1.3 million more
than in 2013, itself a record year for the Caribbean.
These visitors contributed a record US$29.2 billion
to Caribbean economies, a 3.9 per cent rise over the
US$28 billion that visitors spent in 2013.
"With a strong year for air travel, a positive per-
formance by the accommodation sector, solid growth
in cruise visits and faster-than-expected rise in stay-
over arrivals, the Caribbean Tourism Organization is
pleased to report that the state of Caribbean tourism
is sound," stated Riley. (AP)
Record tourist arrivals bring
US$29 bn to Caribbean
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC)
expects to complete acquisition of regional
telecommunications and technology services
provider Columbus International Inc by the end
of its current fiscal year. CWO CEO Phil Bently
gave that time frame in comments accompanying
the company s third quarter results released yes-
He said: "We continue to work with governments
and regulators to gain the required approvals for
completion of the Columbus acquisition and are
on track to close before our fiscal year end."
CWC reported yesterday that since the November
6 announcement of its plans to purchase 100 per
cent equity in Columbus, it has raised gross proceeds
of US$180 million from the placing of new shares
and US$690 million from new loans to finance the
The company said it has also obtained CWC
bondholder consent to facilitate financing of the
acquisition, as well as shareholder approval.
"We have also obtained a number of regulatory
consents, including the necessary approvals for the
acquisition in Jamaica."
The company said in its third quarter mobile
revenue, which accounts for 53 per cent of group
revenue, increased by four per cent, driven by
growth in LIME and Panama of ten per cent and
four per cent respectively.
"LIME growth was driven by continued subscriber
additions in Jamaica (+18 per cent) where investment
in our 4G mobile network led to constant currency
revenue growth of 27 per cent and an NPS gain of
11 points, whilst in Barbados our Upgrade Barbados
marketing campaign led to six per cent revenue
growth and our market-leading LTE service in Cay-
man drove revenue growth of 3 per cent," CWC
"Panama mobile growth followed a strong increase
in subscribers, primarily within prepaid, as a result
of increased promotions leading up to and through
the holiday season. We anticipate a new
mobile entrant in the Bahamas later this
calendar year and expect mobile revenue
to be impacted as a result, in particular
international roaming revenue."
At December 31, group net debt was
US$302 million including cash held in
escrow, a reduction of US$162 million since
September 30. Net debt comprised
US$1,555 million gross debt and US$1,253
million cash including cash held in escrow,
increasing from $US902 million and $438
million respectively at September 30, pri-
marily due to the placing of new shares
and loans raised to finance the acquisition
CWC to acquire Columbus
in current fiscal year
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