TORONTO — Though Sandals Resorts International didn’t invent the all-inclusive concept with its first resort in Jamaica back in 1981, it is largely credited with perfecting it. Since the debut of ...
TORONTO — Upwards of 6,000 viewers tuned in to Travelweek’s ‘The Future of Travel: Caribbean Comeback’ yesterday to hear industry insights amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, island updates and even a teaser about some exciting new acquisition news from Sandals Resorts.
The Sept. 30 event, which was broadcast live, saw 3,295 unique viewers watching the live webcast online. Close to 2,000 more viewers watched via Facebook Live, and almost 1,000 on the Profession Voyages Facebook page. And agents continue to watch the recorded video from yesterday’s event, so final viewership is expected to land even higher.
For viewers who pre-registered, the event included several prizes including a $500 VISA gift card.
“NUMBER ONE PRIORITY”
“We are delighted at the extremely strong viewership, which is on par with our first ‘Future of Travel’ event back in June,” says Travelweek Publisher Devin Kinasz. “We have a winning formula with ‘Future of Travel’ and these virtual events are developing a loyal following and are proving to be premium must-see events. Most of all, we are glad to be providing agents the information they need, which is always our number one priority.”
Eight keynote speakers, interviewed by Kinasz, Editor Kathryn Folliott and Deputy Editor Cindy Sosroutomo, provided up-to-the-minute information and important takeaways on everything from airline operations to the Caribbean amid the pandemic, to island health and safety protocols, to the best way to market travel to clients during this unprecedented time.
The keynote speakers included: Virgilio Russi, Managing Director of Sales, International for Air Canada; Neil Walters, Secretary General, CTO; Kenroy Herbert, Chairman, Anguilla Tourism Board; Samantha Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Sunwing; Lizzie Cole, Executive Director of Promotion, Quintana Roo Tourism Board; Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica; Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director, Marketing & Operations for Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia; and Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman, Sandals Resorts International.
INSIGHTS & IDEAS
The Q&As during yesterday’s event provided plenty of insight and ideas for agents looking to sell the Caribbean and advise their clients during these challenging times. Here are just a few of the takeaways from the event’s keynote speakers. For more from all of the keynote speakers, check out the full rebroadcast of yesterday’s event here, and watch for follow-up coverage in the Oct. 8 issue of Travelweek.
“Relatively speaking to other parts of the world, the Caribbean is looking good, far behind last year but I think people are still hoping they will be able to go on their winter vacation. The other thing we will see is the trend of some people going for longer term vacations. Obviously today if you need to quarantine in destination and upon return to Canada the typical one-week vacation is prohibitive. We are advocating replacing the quarantine with testing and are looking into a study on that.”
— Virgilio Russi, Managing Director of Sales, International for Air Canada
“Things are starting to look up, but it is early days, but we expect to see even more visitors this year as the winter gets colder. As of now, 26 destinations are open but it is a mixed bag and some islands are limited to just repatriation.”
— Neil Walters, Secretary General, CTO
“Probably the most dominant messaging you have seen from us is around our safety protocols throughout that journey and really reinforcing the changes and additions we’ve made so that Canadians have confidence around their upcoming vacations. We are offering some phenomenal rates and promotions to help those first adopters feel very comfortable in making those first trips.”
— Samantha Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Sunwing
“We never believed that people would stop travelling. It’s tricky for people to remember who’s open and who’s not. So we just said ‘open the chain’ so we can get back to offering people the vacation of a lifetime. We’re seeing awesome demand from U.S. Thanksgiving all the way through the first quarter of 2021.”
— Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman, Sandals Resorts International
Travelweek would like to thank all of its keynote speakers and event participants including Anguilla Tourism Board, Quintana Roo Tourism Board, Grenada Tourism Authority, Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, Tobago Tourism, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts and Canlink.
CHECK OUT THE ‘CARIBBEAN COMEBACK GUIDE’ 2020
To complement yesterday’s event, Travelweek’s brand new ‘Caribbean Comeback Guide’ offers more than 40 pages of key information that agents need as the fall and winter travel season gets underway amid the pandemic.
The Caribbean Comeback Guide, available here as a downloadable digital edition, includes new statistics from Travelweek’s most recent agent and consumer surveys about booking and travel trends in the Caribbean, plus the latest news from Canada’s top airlines regarding their upcoming Sun programs.
The Caribbean Comeback Guide also offers island-by-island listings, serving as a go-to resource for agents complete with entry requirements and relevant information from some of the Caribbean’s top destinations.
Plus, the last 2 pages of the guide offer a handy quick-check reference chart of all the COVID-19 entry requirements for 16 islands and destinations.