Over one hundred fifty travel advisors came together in Nassau this week for the American Society of Travel Advisors’ first-ever ASTA Caribbean Showcase 2022, hosted at the reimagined Sandals Royal Bahamian, September 11-14, 2022.
Offering an immersive, educational look at Nassau – a champion of tourism recovery – event highlights included Masters training from Sandals leaders and industry experts; face-to-face interactions with Sandals suppliers, operators and DMCs; and first-hand experiences showcasing the best and what’s new within and around the Bahamian destination to further build a portfolio of offerings for their clients’ next Caribbean vacation. Events included discussions surrounding trends and updates from dignitaries, industry leaders and experts.
Attendees included Bahamas’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation, Chester Cooper; host, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart; President of ASTA, Zane Kerby; Sandals Resorts International CEO, Gebhard Rainer; Executive Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations at Unique Vacations, Inc., Gary Sadler; Nicola Madden-Greig, President of Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; and esteemed airline partners, including Marvin Alvarez Ochoa, American Airlines Caribbean Sales Manager.
Presentations and seminars held throughout the week covered the importance of tourism to the Caribbean and what the destinations are putting in place to meet the demands of today’s travelers; why Travel Advisors should “specialize” as more and more vacation seekers are turning to them for guidance; the massive growth in the demand for destination weddings in the Caribbean; how to pursue the dive market; and more.
Speaking to the audience of travel advisors from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Stewart spoke on opening day, hinting at additional investments and announcements coming from Sandals before the end of the year, as well as his enthusiasm towards what is coming in the pipeline for the future of Bahamian tourism.
“We are united in our efforts to move the needle, think out of the box, and are looking at every element of the business and reimagining the product. I can tell you this: we are not interested in building anything typical,” said Stewart. “We get up every day believing in the strength of our distribution, in the people who power our hotels, and in our training. We believe in our brand and we especially believe in travel advisors.”
Designed to meet the needs of the travel agency community, ASTA events include local chapter events as well as national and international meetings, creating opportunities for members to connect socially with peers and business partners. Earlier this year, Sandals Resorts was the exclusive sponsor of ASTA’s official events to celebrate Global Travel Advisor Day and the magnificent role travel advisors have played in the industry’s remarkable return to travel.
“Travel advisors are an integral part of the tourism industry and we value and uphold the responsibility and sincere privilege that it is to empower this brilliant community with the resources to continue forging a bright future ahead while selling our magnificent Caribbean to their clients,” said Sadler