Richard Branson is set to push aside the cruise-line behemoths, including Disney and Carnival, to build a regional business under the Virgin Voyages brand. Micro-strategy aside, the venture points the way to shifting trends in global tourism, with the Caribbean benefiting from a confluence of marginal developments. Island tourism authorities better understand burgeoning Latin American wealth; technology is sharpening demand-pricing strategies; Cuba is breathing fresh life into regional itineraries. While Virgin Voyages is years from hard launch, the hefty financial outlay is premised on the high-yielding features of a cash-now business. The project also aligns with robust hotel-development trends worldwide. Floating resorts just require a much greater volume of investment capital, than traditional luxury properties. ■
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