Best of the Best Agencies, Canada

Canadians shine at Sandals STAR awards, with complete list of winners & pics

TORONTO — Sandals Resorts International paid tribute to its shining stars at the 18th Annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (S.T.A.R.) Awards – and the list of Canadian winners is impressive.

Sandals celebrated its top travel agents with a gala ceremony, the pinnacle of a four-night trip at Beaches Turks & Caicos earlier this month.

Sandals created the S.T.A.R. Awards in 2002 to recognize top travel agents and their agencies while also highlighting new products and on-island attractions.

This year’s event brought in some 560 travel advisors and companions from Canada, the U.S., Latin America and the UK.

The Governor of Turks and Caicos Islands, Nigel John Dakin, also attended the ceremony, as did Deputy Governor Anya Williams, Minister of Tourism Ralph Higgs, Consul General for Jamaica, Allen Hutchinson and MHA Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Labor and Employment Services, Vaden Williams.

Here’s the complete list of Canadian winners …


Two Canadians achieved this top-level Certified Sandals Specialist status as top performing agents: Lois Barbour – Travel Time TPI, and Kim Hartlen – Kim Hartlen Travel TPI.


CEO Award of Excellence – Canada winner – Sandy Willett, Vision Travel Solutions (right)


Worldwide Top 10 Travel Agencies including two from Canada, TTAND and TPI


CEO Award of Excellence

Sandy Willett – Vision Travel Solutions

Top Ten Travel Agencies – including two from Canada:

Travel Professionals International

The Travel Agent Next Door


National – Canada – Top Sandals Travel Agency – TPI


National – Canada – Top Host Travel Agency – TPI


National – Canada – Top Beaches Travel Agency – TTAND


Top Host Travel Agency

Travel Professionals International

Top Sandals Travel Agency

Travel Professionals International

Top Beaches Travel Agency

The Travel Agent Next Door


Canada – Regional – Top Sandals Travel Agency


Canada – Regional – Top Beaches Travel Agency


Canada – Regional – Top Butler Elite Travel Agency


Top Sandals Travel Agency

Atlantic Canada – Travel Time TPI

Quebec – One Love Honeymoons / CME Travel

Ontario – Vision Travel Solutions

Western Canada – Travel

Top Beaches Travel Agency

Atlantic Canada – Kim Hartlen Travel TPI

Quebec – One Love Honeymoons / CME Travel

Ontario – 510 Travel

Western Canada – A Mary’s Travel & Tours

Top Club Sandals Travel Agency

Atlantic Canada – Kim Hartlen Travel TPI

Ontario – LatitudesPlus – Smart Travel

Western Canada – Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Winnipeg

Top Butler Elite Travel Agency

Atlantic Canada – Niche Travel

Quebec – One Love Honeymoons / CME Travel

Ontario – Flight Centre, Oakville Place

Western Canada – Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Winnipeg


The Travel Agent Next Door

Travel Professionals International

Kim Hartlen Travel/TPI

Vision Travel Solutions

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Peterborough

One Love Honeymoons/ CME Travel

LatitudesPlus – Smart Travel
Red Label Vacations Inc.

Uniglobe Le Centre de Voyages, Dorval, Hamilton
Nexion Canada

Zeina Gedeon, CEO of TPI, said she was “extremely proud” of its advisors at this year’s STAR awards. “It was an honour for me to accept the award as Top Host Agency in Canada, on behalf of my TPI family,” said Gedeon. “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. All of this would not have been possible without our advisors’ commitment to Sandals Resorts.”

Said Hartlen: “I have been honoured to be a part of the Sandals Travel Agent awards for the past 18 years! Thank you, Sandals and Beaches Resorts for this prestige invitation and recognition. I am thrilled to have stepped out on my own as an entrepreneur under my brand Kim Hartlen Travel with the amazing support of TPI. My clients are truly the Stars!”

Barbour added: “Our team at Travel Time – TPI appreciates our loyal VIP clients, and the trust they place in us for their valuable vacation time. Our partners at Sandals Resorts deliver on the experience we recommend to our clients again and again and make the process easy with repeat bookings being the norm.”

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.”

Agents looking to learn more about how to become a Sandals STAR agent through the Certified Sandals Specialist (CSS) program can contact their local Sandals BDM or Inside Sales 1-800-545-8283, or see