#Bahamas, December 20, 2017 – Nassau – Some forty of the top producing travel agents including Bahamas travel specialists from throughout Florida were recently hosted to a mega familiarization trip to Nassau, Bahamas by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) Florida sales office. The trip in partnership with the Bahamas’ major stakeholders and key industry partners, afforded the agents the opportunity to experience firsthand, the newest tourism developments and destination assets in The Bahamas.
The travel agents who came from as far North as Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida spent three days and two nights at the exclusive BahaMar Resort on Cable Beach, the newest and largest luxury resort in the Caribbean, which recently opened its doors on April 21, 2017.
Before conducting site inspections of its Grand Hyatt and SLS properties, the Management of BahaMar hosted the agents to a first class welcome dinner and reception, which featured live food stations and cultural rake and scrape entertainment. A theme lit fountain show, capped the festive evening.
Welcoming the agents to The Bahamas was Mr. Travis Robinson, Parliamentary Secretary in the BMOTA, who recognized the pivotal role that the travel agents play in the overall success of tourism in The Bahamas.
“Success in any enterprise is aligning yourself with the right partners, travel partners. While everyone is super excited about the current digital age we live in and in technology, and while we love that it is faster, more efficient and more productive than any human being, we must concede that its shortcomings and trust cannot replace the human being. Those human beings – being the travel agents ranging from 22% among general consumers to 35% among millennials, who guide them into making the right choices for their travel experiences”.
Mr. Robinson also congratulated and recognized the more than 5,000 agents who have enrolled in the Bahamas Specialist program, 1200 of whom had successfully completed and graduated from the program, several of whom were in attendance, for spending countless personal hours, training and educating themselves on The Bahamas’ tourism product, to become certified Bahamas experts.
“BahaMar is especially happy to host this group at its resort which features, three world class luxury brands; Grand Hyatt for luxurious leisure travel; SLS a modern, progressive and energetic brand, and Rosewood, its ultra luxury resort, the later of which is scheduled to open in 2018,” said John D’Angelo, Resort Manager, Grand Hyatt at BahaMar.
“We are happy that we have been able to host this esteem and important group of agents to our beautiful resort, and that they, after two or three attempts, have uncover for themselves, the large elephant in the room where they have been able to see, touch and experience for themselves, that yes, we are really open for business”.
“Their reviews of our resort have all been positive and refreshing, and we are appreciative of their visit and their renewed confidence now to better tell and sell our resort to their clients,” he said.
Agents also conducted site visits to Melia Nassau Beach Hotel, Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort and Graycliff, in Nassau and Sunrise Beach Club, Warwick Hotel, Comfort Suites and Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.
The group also enjoyed a city tour and visited Nassau’s historical and tourism landmarks including Fort Fincastle, Fort Charlotte, Parliament Square and explored the slave trade history and movement during an educational tour at Heritage Museum.
In appreciation of their business, Atlantis Resort laid out the red carpet for the travel agents and hosted them to an authentic, cultural and most memorable farewell dinner at their famous Ocean’s Edge facility, which features the world’s largest indoor aquarium. A live jazz band entertained the agents as they feasted on cuisine from three of Atlantis’ newest Bahamian restaurant vendors: McKinney’s Conch Stand, Frankie’s Gone Bananas and Sip Sip. A full junkanoo rush out, a colorful display of costumes and The Bahamas’ number one cultural tradition, which represents the heart, pulse and sound of its people, ended the incredible evening.
Jennifer Gardiner-Bannister, Area Manager of the BMOTA, and organizer of the Bahamas mega familiarization trip said “The BMOTA is grateful for the unwavering support it receives from its travel partners, in particular the travel agents. The industry has had an incredible year brought on by recent hurricanes, and while The Bahamas has been spared from such damages, it is the continuous efforts of those travel agents, who work tirelessly on our behalf getting the word out to their clients that the Bahamas is open for business, and we could not be more grateful.”
“Our ‘Triple O’ approach sales strategy including: ‘online’, where we engage with our travel partners via social media and e-newsletters; ‘offline’, where we visit their agencies, hold lunch and learn seminars and other face-to-face in-agency presentations, along with our ‘on-island’, escorted site and fam trips to The Bahamas to experience the destination product, are proving to be most critical and rewarding for us,” she said.
“We look forward to reengaging and working with these valuable partners in 2018 and beyond, whom we love and appreciate,” she said.
Group 1- Pictured is Parliamentary Secretary in the BMOTA, Travis Robinson, (far right) with some of the Bahamas Specialists graduates and participants in the Florida travel agents mega fam and Jennifer Gardiner-Bannister (far left) Area Manager, BMOTA Florida Sales Office and event organizer.
Group 2- Florida travel agents conducted numerous site visits to several hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island, including at the Warwick Hotel, where they were also hosted to lunch by the hotel management team.
Group 3 – Junkanoo at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Management at Atlantis laid out the red carpet and hosted a festive evening of dinner, jazz and Junkanoo for the travel agents who participated in The Bahamas’ mega fam.
Sandals Team Excited about Reopening Sandals Royal Bahamian
#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International was on hand recently to welcome, engage, thank and motivate returning team members and new recruits of Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, as the resort ramps up its preparations for its re-opening come January 27, 2022.
With extensive renovations to the re-imagined resort continuing to unfold, the resort is also well advanced with the recruitment of nearly 1,050 team members across several levels and varying departments, and is now proceeding with its immersive orientation and training exercises, preparing the team to welcome guests for the first time since closing in March 2020.
In the most recent onboarding session attended by Stewart and chaired by a host of seasoned Sandals senior management and executives, Stewart welcomed the returning and new recruits. “I want to use this opportunity to officially welcome you to the ‘World’s Best Team’- team Sandals. Having witnessed the progress of the renovations, I can tell you all that the reimagined Sandals Royal Bahamian and all its new features is going to be the most exquisite resort in this country. The reopening of Sandals Royal Bahamian will be magical and I’m looking forward to all of us growing and evolving together. Any company that is growing is a company that provides opportunities and those opportunities are for you to seize,” he shared.
He added that the reopening provides an exceptional opportunity for Sandals and the Bahamian government to continue an amazing and mutually beneficial partnership as the tourism industry and the region continue to chart the way forward on the path to economic recovery.
“My family and I have a love affair with the islands of the Bahamas, there is nothing quite like this country. We made the decision to keep this resort closed so that we could invest in it and invest in this country, as we wanted to ensure that when we stand the test of time for the next 20 years, we have a resort like no other. As a company we promote brand Bahamas using various marketing strategies from traditional to new media, as this is a partnership between you and our organization,” he said.
Stewart spoke at one of the several orientation sessions where new and returning team members will be “Sandalized” – preparing them to effectively and confidently deliver the company’s world-class luxury-included service as they gear up for full return to work.
Philippa Adams, returning team member from the Laundry Department expressed that she is delighted about the reopening.
“I would scream right now but that may not be appropriate but I’m overjoyed that the resort will be reopening in January. The orientation sessions have been so empowering and refreshing and have given me a major boost in confidence. The sessions are furnishing us with all the tools we need to get back to work and execute at an optimal level,” declared Adams.
The orientation commenced on November 1 and will run through to November 26, 2021. Utilising technology and new state of the art training mechanisms, the orientations sessions are being held in adherence to COVID-19 protocols and are therefore being conducted in phases using dual modality of face-to-face sessions and virtual courses by way of the company’s Learning Management System (LMS).
Director for Learning, Development and Service Standards, Dr Phillip Brown shared, “As a team, we pride ourselves on innovation. As the company forges ahead, we elevate our systems to incorporate new ways of ensuring our Sandals standards are maintained, our guests’ expectations are exceeded and our team members are fully equipped for success. During these phased training sessions, team members will be exposed to our company’s world renowned service standards, our ethos of community involvement, particularly through our Sandals Foundation as also the myriad of personal development opportunities through our Sandals Corporate University.”
Brown is part of the company’s training team that is on the ground at Sandals Royal Bahamian. The team comprises leaders from various resorts within the Sandals group who are assisting with ensuring a seamless developmental process for the new recruits ahead of the long awaited, grand reopening.
Photo Caption: Adam Stewart_ Executive Chairman for Sandals Resorts International (SRI) addressed new and returning team members of Sandals Royal Bahamian during an orientation session, recently.
Turks & Caicos Airline links the Caribbean like no other regional Carrier, Now Flying to Guyana
#TurksandCaicos, November 13, 2021 – In under five weeks, interCaribbean Airways, the Turks and Caicos based airline company will begin flights between Barbados and Guyana and on Friday (November 5) the announcement came in a high profile ceremony in George Town.
Founder and Chairman of the airline, Lyndon Gardiner and its CEO Trevor Sadler were both on hand along with other dignitaries in airline and government for the well-received reveal.
Commuters are offered up to 12 flights per week between the countries. The government of Guyana is thrilled at the potential; and so is the government of Barbados.
Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill explained now residents can fly out in the morning and be back home in time for dinner; he had a simple but striking statement for interCaribbean Airways; stay in the market, grow in this market even if there is competition.
When Gardiner, who is native to North Caicos, addressed the historic gathering, he explained “Everyone wants to move here to be part of the new oil, gas, tourism and manufacturing sector. interCaribbean is proud to be a part of this new growth and to support it … and I feel that Guyanese leadership is bullish on managing its economy and encouraging direct foreign investment in a way that is beneficial to the long-term strategic interests of Guyana.”
It was just last year, in August, that interCaribbean amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic stepped up to offer critical airline connection in the Eastern Caribbean.
Gardiner informed that his company was well on its way to having a flight in every Caribbean country by 2025, before progress was slowed by the pandemic. Despite this delay, the feats of interCaribbean Airways are unprecedented and will not be denied according to company executives.
Flights from Barbados to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana begin on December 17.
15 World Travel Award WINNERS for the Turks and Caicos Islands
#TurksandCaicos, October 22, 2021 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the exclusive tourism authority for the Turks and Caicos Islands, is pleased to announce that the destination has been named a winner in seven categories at the 28th annual World Travel Awards. The World Travel Awards serve to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, it is the leading authority that recognizes the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence, globally. The full list of the prestigious regional awards won by the Turks and Caicos Islands and its tourism partners include:
- Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination 2021 – Turks & Caicos Islands
- Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination 2021 – Turks & Caicos Islands
- Caribbean’s Leading All Suite Hotel 2021 – The Palms Turks & Caicos
- Caribbean’s Leading All-Inclusive Family Resort 2021 – Beaches Turks & Caicos
- Caribbean’s Leading Luxury Island Resort 2021 – Sailrock Resort, Turks & Caicos
- Caribbean’s Leading New Resort 2021 – The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos
- Caribbean’s Leading Private Island Resort 2021 – Pine Cay, The Meridian Club, Turks & Caicos
As a destination, the Turks and Caicos Islands has consecutively won the award for the Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination and the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination. These awards come as no surprise as the Islands are renowned for its pristine beaches and breathtaking turquoise waters and are considered the ideal destination for honeymoons and weddings.
Minister of Tourism, Honorable Josephine Connolly, stated, “We are thrilled to have continuously won in these categories of the World Travel Awards, as this is testament to our continued commitment in ensuring the Turks and Caicos Islands is the leading tourism destination in the region. The Ministry of Tourism’s team and industry partners all play an equally important part in promoting the destination and strengthening the brand of the destination. The awards are a cumulative effort of all tourism partners inclusive of the Ministry of Health, who have guided us throughout this pandemic and implemented protocols that not only keep the local population safe but have allowed the tourism industry to thrive. We are grateful to our team, partners and all persons in the industry for the various roles they play in continuing to make our destination a leader in the industry.”
Director of Tourism, Pamela Ewing, stated, “My team and I are ecstatic to receive the awards for Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination and Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board has continued to promote the destination through strategic marketing and promotions plans as both a ‘Beautiful by Nature’ destination and as the leading destination for honeymoons and weddings.” The World Travel Awards also recognized and awarded some of the best tourism related agencies within the Turks and Caicos Islands, as follows:
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Boutique Hotel 2021 – Windsong Resort
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Car Rental Company 2021 – Avis
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Destination Management Company 2021 – Olympia Destination Management Company
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Hotel 2021 – The Palms Turks & Caicos
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Hotel Suite 2021 – Four Bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse @ Windsong Resort
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Resort 2021 – Amanyara Villas
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Tour Operator 2021 – Caicos Dream Tours
- Turks & Caicos’ Leading Travel Agency 2021 – Turks & Caicos Reservations
Traditionally, the World Travel Awards host a Gala Ceremony where top industry leaders and high-level tourism professionals from across the Caribbean region gather. However, given the ongoing global challenges, they have now opted to host a virtual day of celebrations in lieu of a physical ceremony.
Today, we virtually celebrate the World Travel Awards Winners for the Caribbean & North America.
Photo Credit: Brilliant Photography
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