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ASTA says Sandals Still Leading the Way to Regional Tourism Revival

SRI on course for five new properties and 5,000 jobs in five years

By VOICE Reporter

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has lauded Sandals Resorts International (SRI) for continuing to play a leading role in helping Caribbean Tourism recover, with the region’s top tourism group still very much on course to fulfil its earlier promise to provide 5,000 new jobs in five years, even as stakeholders continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SRI, the world’s leading All-Inclusive Company, recently partnered with ASTA on a research study that has been vital in informing stakeholders of the latest travel trends and developments.

SRI says the research showed “a marked increase in interest in the Caribbean, with 44% of travelers saying this year they wanted to visit the region, compared with 33% from January 2020.”

Zane Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA, highlighting SRI’s role, says Sandals “is helping to change the landscape for travel and has provided a strong platform for travel advisors to keep Caribbean destinations very much at the top of the list when booking vacations for their clients.”

The ASTA CEO says the renewed interest in Caribbean holidays confirmed by the study “also arises from Sandals taking time out to remind the world it’s fully open for business, while creating more employment and training opportunities for Caribbean citizens.”

Indeed, Sandals feels the same.

Gary Sadler, Executive Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations at Unique Vacations.
Gary Sadler, Executive Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations at Unique Vacations.

Gary Sadler, Executive Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations at Unique Vacations, the exclusive marketing partner for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, headlined with other global industry leaders at ASTA’s Global Convention in August, where he again drove-home the message to the over 1,000 attendees that the Caribbean tourism sector was “wide-open for business…”

Sadler said, “Never before had trust and confidence been so intimately connected…and the fact is that Sandals Resorts is a brand that both travel advisors and consumers alike trust …believe me, we take that trust seriously.”

Reflecting on the joint ASTA/Sandals study, Sadler also had good news for the delegates, saying: “Travelers are eager to make-up for missed moments and get back to the fun of dreaming about and finally taking their vacations.

He continued, “Expertise matters. As leaders in the all-inclusive industry …there are always competitors out there trying to recreate Sandals’ formula; but they can’t. Why? Because we are always one step ahead. At Sandals innovation is in our corporate DNA. We wear the title of true innovators like the badge of honour that it is, and that’s why we didn’t just sit quietly on the sidelines of this pandemic.”

Indeed, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Sandals Resorts has continued to show its confidence in the Caribbean by announcing plans for five new properties: three new hotels in Jamaica, a new Beaches Resort in Saint Vincent, as well as a new destination in Curacao, which has already started taking bookings.

The new investments by the regional tourism powerhouse will help provide the promised 5,000 additional jobs in the next five years.

In fact, the company recently fast-tracked its recruitment and employment drive in Saint Vincent even ahead of the start of construction of the Beaches Resort there, with the intention of providing much-needs relief for the island ravaged by both the pandemic and the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.

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