Among those attending the event at Sapodillas Restaurant in Beaches, were, Executive VP of Sales & Industry Relations, Mr. Gary C. Sadler, OD, Mr. James McAnally, General Manager, Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa and Mr. Lyndon Gardiner, Founder and Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways and Mr. Caesar Campbell, chairman of the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board.
Commenting on the occasion, Sadler said: “The interesting part about this event is that we knew that Sandals Resorts committed with us the American Society of Travel Advisors for a three year arrangement to ensure that Travel Advisors are recognized around the world. Interestingly, as I checked today, there is no other hotel in these Turks and Caicos Islands that is 30 travel advisors for lunch. Why is that important, it is important because you as travel advisors have to recognize and accept that you have to partner with hotel companies that are serious about you.”
He added: “The pandemic happened and the world was shut down and the world itself was full of challenges and a lot of companies made a very important and strategic decision and that decision was to first of all get rid of their sales team. There were many companies at the beginning of the pandemic that you could not find a business development manager to help you through that crisis. Unique Vacations and Sandals at Beaches Turks and Caicos, through our founding Chairman, the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart, made a very strategic decision at the start of the pandemic that not one business development manager would be terminated. We made the decision that at this time that if you need the travel advisor, you must have the business development managers there to help the travel advisor and that was a decision that we made. ”
Sadler said the staff of Beaches Turks and Caicos are among the best that the resorts have in the system as an organization.
He continued: “Thank you from all of us at Unique Vacations, Sandals and Beaches Resorts. Every single one of you who are if not the most important part of our distribution system, we will never and we have never been a successful organization as we are without you the travel advisors. The reality is that we hosted this luncheon out of appreciation for Global Travel Advisor Day but the real reason that we would bring you all together is for the very simple fact that we want your business.”
Meantime, McAnally said the demand for this destination Turks and Caicos Islands continues as more and more people are interested in visiting.
“Turks and Caicos as a destination was just recently voted again as having the world’s best beach and you can see that when you fly in and you see all the colours. It just speaks to the beautiful by nature destination and the demand for this destination continues as more and more people will come and more inventory here on the island. Our visitors that have come will continue to come back year after year obviously because of how you (travel agents) promote the island and destination,” he said.
Minister of Tourism, Josephine Connolly who could not attend the event said in a video clip that travel advisors are an important part of TCI’s Tourism Industry and their work in keeping the traveling public interested in the Turks and Caicos Islands cannot go unnoticed.
“Travel Advisors like you were a critical part of the success we achieved during the COVID 19 pandemic. Close to 600,000 visitors arrived on our shores, as the tourism industry struggled to come alive. Advisors like you made this possible through your promotion and marketing of our destination as one with clear travel protocols and a high rate of vaccinations- in other words, a safe destination,” she said.
She added: “It is my sincere desire to meet some of you and thank you further on behalf of my government, for the way you kept us at the top of the mind of travelers and gave them the confidence to travel to our island.
The story of the success of our islands over the past months is one of true partnerships and collaboration. I am happy that you- travel advisors -are among our partners. I commend the American Society of Travel Advisors for establishing a day to recognize you and your contribution to global tourism and for opening the world to travel. Congratulations I wish you all the best as you experience firsthand what our islands have to offer- Happy Travel Advisors Day.”
Tanya Swann-Director of Sales, Groups and Conventions expressed her heartfelt thanks to all the travel agents who attended the event.
“On behalf of Sandals and Beaches we thank you for everything that you do and I know that for the last two years we’ve all went through the pandemic together but we have supported each other through it all. We were closed for a bit, but we were still working and still receiving the emails and responding and someone asked me a while ago how long I’ve been here, I’ve been here for 18 years and I love what I do,” she said.
She added: “Today we celebrate Travel Advisors Day but I think that every day we should celebrate you all because it’s you who keep us here and our resorts full. Today as we celebrate you all we want to say thank you for never giving up or giving in, thank you for your continued support to the brand and especially to us here at Beaches Turks and Caicos and we will continue to support you daily.”