OCHO RIOS — TPI agents were among the big winners at the 13th annual Sandals STAR Awards.
Held at the Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort in Ocho Rios, the event included a glamorous gala dinner hosted by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, and Adam Stewart, CEO & Deputy Chairman.
Also in attendance were the Jamaican Minister of Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Wykeham McNeill, Eamonn Ferrin, President and COO at Air Canada Vacations, and Tessanne Chin, winner of NBC’s The Voice, to provide the entertainment.
Some 89 Canadian travel agents and their partners were also in attendance, along with agents from around the world. Awards were based on overall productivity on bookings made from Aug. 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014.
TPI was recognized as the top home-based agency group. It was also tops for Beaches bookings.
‘Best Of The Best Agencies’ included TPI and also TPI Travel Time in Newfoundland, headed up by Lois Barbour. Barbour also won the Sandals Spirit Award.
And Saskatchewan’s Jetaways Travel, headed up by Susan Vincent in Saskatoon, won Top Butler Suite Travel Agency.
“In an industry that is all about relationships, we’re incredibly proud of the hard work of our advisors in supporting those partners that believe in them and their business,” said TPI Vice-President Tim Morgan.
Sandals and Beaches have stayed loyal to travel agents, said Chairman Stewart. “We are the single most profitable resort organization to do business with, and we have protected the travel agent, and will continue to protect the travel agent with price parity,” he said. “It’s not the cheapest – it’s never going to be the cheapest – but it’s the quality, inclusions and innovation that makes us a fantastic value, and we have a lot great things in store for 2015.”
Sandals and Beaches continue to innovate with many exciting developments in 2015 and beyond. The new Sandals Barbados will open on Jan. 28, 2015 and Sandals Royal Caribbean is set to break ground on five overwater bungalows.
Greg Norman will help Sandals up their game on two golf courses in Jamaica, plus a partnership with Robert Mondavi Winery of Napa Valley will add more wine selection to the all-inclusive menu. Two new Beaches properties are also planned for Barbados and Antigua.