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Sandals fêtes, awards foreign travel agents

BY ALESIA EDWARDS Observer staff reporter alesiae@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2012    

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OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Some 150 travel agents from the United States, Brazil, Columbia, and Mexico were fêted and awarded Saturday night at Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios as the curtains came down on Sandals Resorts' 10th Annual USA Travel Agents

Golf Tournament.

Sandals Resort senior vice- president of sales, Gary Sadler, told the Jamaica Observer ahead of the awards ceremony, that one of the primary objectives of the tournament was to bring people who sell the tourism products to experience different aspects of Destination Jamaica, such

as golf.

"It's about bringing 150 travel agents down to Jamaica to experience Jamaica, the culture the food, the music, the wedding options, to experience the beach, the water sports, but it's also to experience golfing," explained Sadler.

The golf tournament is one of several hosted by Sandals each year for its travel partners across the world. Next month, another 150 travel agents from Canada will be on the island for a similar meet. Tourneys are also held for travel agents from the United Kingdom.

Sadler said, for the first time this year, Latin America was included in the mix, but that a separate tournament will be hosted for that group next year. He also said that the company intends to host a worldwide golf tournament next year, where a different group will compete for the coveted title.

Sadler told the Observer that travel agents were among the most important parts of the Sandals business, and that each year between 5,000 and 7,500 of them are brought to Jamaica, sometimes with their families, to experience the destination and product they sell to visitors.

Last month alone, Sadler informed about 2,000 travel agents were brought into

the island.

"We, at Sandals, have recognised that the travel agents are the bread and butter of our business, no matter what you do, if you provide some level of proper education for the travel agents, then the sky is the limit," he said.

Meanwhile, Sadler stated that despite the challenges, he was hoping for a good winter tourist season for the

hotel chain, Jamaica, and the wider region.

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