Sandals Travel Industry golf tourney driving Canadian arrivals
TEAM 17, playing as J Star Travel and Events/Travel Only, comprising Jessica Morris, Craig Membery, Sue and Colin Springgay, yesterday shot a six under-par, 65, to hold a four-stroke lead ahead of WestJet’s Spencer Sorensen, Ryan Saroli, Stavros Kotsireas and Scott Roseblade on the opening day of the Sandals Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament at Sandals Golf and Country Club in Upton, St Ann.
The third and final of three annual travel agents’ tournaments staged by Sandals, promoting Jamaica as a golfing destination to travel-industry partners, the pioneering Canadian tourney has attracted 17 teams, playing a four-man scramble over two days on the par-71 course.
Maureen Barnes-Smith, director, sales and marketing, Unique Vacations, Canada, said more than 50 per cent of the participants were first-timers wanting to experience the island and its golf offering.
“The Canadian tournament was the first one conceptualised, starting as a partnership between Sandals and the Baxter Media Group. It is in its 25th year, after skipping last year, due to the resorts being fully occupied. It almost happened again this year, so we kept our fingers crossed and here we are. We intend to make this year special because it’s our 25th staging, which is a milestone,” said an enthused Barnes-Smith.
Among the features of what Barnes-Smith described as a “fun way” to promote Jamaica, the travel agents also participated in competitions such as ‘Best Team Spirit’ photos, men’s and women’s ‘Straightest Drive’ and ‘Men’s Closest to the Pin’, contributing US$10 per entry, proceeds of which go to the Sandals Foundation.
Meanwhile, Barnes-Smith said arrivals from Canada has picked up after a lull two years ago.
“We have seen a rebound in Canadian travellers. Last year was strong and this year the trend indicates that it should end stronger. The Canadian economy is better and the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, is a number-one destination. Jamaica is on everyone’s bucket list – the music, the rum, jerked chicken and other unmentionables,” she mused.