Sandals STAR Awards gala a special night for home-based agents


TPI and TTAND were part of the Worldwide Top 10 Travel Agencies winner’s circle at the 2019 Sandals STAR Awards

Home-based agents shone brightly at Sandals Resorts’ 18th annual STAR Awards.

The top 10 travel agencies worldwide included host agencies TPI and The Travel Agent Next Door.

Flemming Friisdahl, Founder, The Travel Agent Next Door, said: “I am so excited to accept the award from Sandals on behalf of our business partners (our agents). To think that in five short years we have achieved what only 10 agencies on the planet have achieved is just amazing.”

Adds Friisdahl: “And to have received two additional awards including highest sales for Beaches Resorts in Canada is just jaw-dropping. We are very excited to have such an amazing partnership with Sandals and Beaches Resorts.”

Always top producers for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, home-based agents in Canada are scaling new heights with the company. And Sandals knows it. This past summer Sandals held its first-ever Canadian Home-Based Travel Consultant Conference, bringing home-based agents from across Canada from host agencies including TPI, TTAND, TravelOnly, The Destination Experts and Nexion Travel Group (Canada), to Sandals South Coast for five days of excursions, site inspections and a Business Marketing Forum targeted specifically to home-based agents.

At this year’s STAR Awards, held Dec. 7 – 11 at Beaches Turks & Caicos, Canadian home-based agents and host agencies dominated the leaderboard in the ‘Best of the Best’ category.


Canada’s ‘Best of The Best’ winners at the 2019 Sandals STAR Awards, with Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing, Unique Vacations Canada Inc. and Sandals Resorts International CEO and deputy chairman Adam Stewart

The ‘Best of the Best’ for Canada included TTAND; TPI; Kim Hartlen Travel/TPI in Nova Scotia; Travel Only; Vision Travel Solutions; CWT/Stewart Travel in Peterborough, ON; Quebec’s One Love Honeymoons/CME Travel, LatitudesPlus Smart Travel in Whitby, ON. Also of note, Sandy Willett from Vision Travel in Waterloo, ON was honoured with the Sandals CEO Award of Excellence.

TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon says TPI is excited about its strong double-digit growth with Sandals every year, and praised the company for all that they do for TPI advisors on a daily basis.

“We are extremely proud of our Advisors who took home some of the most prestigious Sandals Awards this week!” said Gedeon. “It was an honour for me to accept the award as Top Host Agency in Canada, on behalf of my TPI family, this award is for all our advisors across Canada, to recognize all their hard work and all the passion they put into what they do and all this would not have been possible without our Advisors’ commitment to Sandals Resorts.”

Gedeon added that TPI is “over the moon” with having the only two advisors in Canada that are in the Sandals Chairman Royal Club: Travel Time TPI’s Lois Barbour and Kim Hartlen with Kim Hartlen Travel/TPI . “This is a great testament to our advisors and to Sandals for their commitment to TPI. We strive to give our advisors all the support and tool to make them the best of the best.”

While the STAR event is all about celebrating travel agents, it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the legacy, and forward momentum, of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.

Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing, Unique Vacations Canada Inc., affiliate of the worldwide representative of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, says that while resort vacation trends have come and gone, “what has never changed for us is the vision that started this company, of finding the best beaches and real estate on which to create world class luxury resorts.”

The story of Sandals “has been an unbelievable journey, from the humblest beginnings of 99 bedrooms in 1981 to now being the Caribbean’s only all-inclusive superbrand and World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resorts for 24 years,” she added.

Get travel news right to your inbox!