ARLENES García, an organiser for the Sandals Latin America Travel Advisers Golf Tournament, is happy for its return.
The two-day tournament, suspended for two years because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, is to tee off 8:30 this morning.
Its purpose is to provide friendly competition for Latin American travel advisers comprising experienced golfers and newcomers to the sport who want to learn and enjoy the experience of golfing on one of the Caribbean's finest courses.
García says the tournament will also allow travel advisers to experience Sandals' three resorts in the Ocho Rios area — Sandals Royal Vacations, Sandals Ocho Rios, and Beaches Ocho Rios.
"It's important for us to showcase our brand to our travel advisers," García told the Jamaica Observer.
"It's important for them to see it, because seeing is believing. The opportunity that they have — not only to play golf, but to interact with travel advisers from different countries in the region and also to help and support the community — is fantastic."
This is the eighth year the competition is being hosted in Jamaica and García says this is the destination of choice when travel advisers think of the Caribbean.
"I feel at home away from home in Jamaica," she said. "Everyone is so friendly and you're so welcome when you arrive in this country. This is what our travel advisers feel when they get here.
"It's impossible to speak about the Caribbean and not speak about Jamaica. In Latin America, when we speak about the Caribbean the first destination that comes to mind is Jamaica. There's a special love for Jamaica, and our travel advisers are always very supportive of the Caribbean — specifically this destination that is very popular in our countries in Latin America. Our travel advisers promote the destination and promote the brand, and our guests from Latin America are very happy to come to the Caribbean and to enjoy Jamaica as one of the top destinations."
García says the tournament will also assist in raising the profile of golf in Jamaica; however, the travel advisers will also engage in community outreach on this visit.
She shared, "This year, we are packing for a purpose; we have our travel advisers bringing school items and book bags. They are pleased to support the Sandals Foundation and they're delighted to support the community. We're planning to have all the items delivered to a local school in the Ocho Rios community. It's so amazing to see how happy and excited the travel advisers are when it comes to this event, and to support the foundation."
The tournament features 80 golfers across 19 teams representing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.
It takes the same format it has in its previous years, with a scramble over eight holes on both days. This is where the game is played by teams of four and where each member hits their ball throughout the match. Team captains choose the best shot from the first stroke and use the same spot for each player.
– Rachid Parchment