The 2015 North American Showcase attracted twenty-five international wholesale and tour operator companies, and double that number out of the domestic market.
According to the Director of Tourism Louis Lewis, another indicator of success for the Board has been the admirable level and quality of partner support extended by award winning Saint Lucian resorts and tourism and hospitality service providers.
“The vision and aim of the Showcase can only be fully realized with the input of our resorts and allied services. In that regard we are very pleased for the partnership of Windjammer Landing Beach Resort, Capella Marigot, Ladera, Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet, NatMed, Holiday Taxi, FLOW, Barefoot Holidays and Sugar Beach Resort and Spa this year.”
The North American showcase is an annual marketing event by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to connect tour operators from the US and Canadian Markets with owners and executives of tourism related services from Saint Lucia. Among its manifold objectives, is the forging of new business partnerships and building product knowledge among those who sell Saint Lucia, through a destination exploration experience.
A much anticipated highlight of the program every year is the announcement and recognition of top selling tour operators. This year, six leading tour operators from the US and Canada were singled out for recognition for top sales performance during a dinner ceremony set against the backdrop of picturesque Marigot Bay. The Capella Resort sponsored event culminated the opening day, Friday August 1st.
From Canada, Classic Vacations took the award for the Most Improved Sales Support from a tour operator, having sold the largest volume of room nights to Saint Lucia from that market, while Air Canada Vacations copped the Top Producing Canadian Tour Operator award 2014. Out of the US market, EXPEDIA made off with the Top Producing Online Tour Operator award while Travel Impressions took the award for Top Producing Traditional Tour Operator, as the On-line tour operator who has produced the greatest number of room nights out of the US market for 2014. BOOKING.COM was named the Fastest Growing Tour Operator having demonstrated the greatest growth for 2014 over 2013.
This year saw the introduction of a new award category – Best Producing Tour Operator for Weddings & Honeymoons which was captured by Travel Impressions. Each recipient received a one of a kind sculpture commissioned by the Board from Saint Lucia’s iconic and internationally celebrated sculptors – Eudovic Studios.
According to the Tourism director, the awards are determined annually from analysis of confidential statistics collected from the partners by the Board. In his remarks to the business partners and sector representatives in attendance, the Director emphasized the value placed by the Board on nurturing its partnerships and continually investing in building product knowledge and in recognizing the performance of the partners who interface with the market.
“Saint Lucia salutes all of the tour operators here with us this evening as your business is very important to Saint Lucia. Tonight we are celebrating combined successes, for we recognize that your success is our success, and our success comes as a consequence of your performance”, Mr. Lewis said.
The packed three-day program also included breakfast visits to resorts in the north, and western coast site visits by cruise, to Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain and Ladera Resorts with dining at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. The curtains came down on the packed three-day program with an All-White Spa and Beachside Party sponsored by Windjammer Hotel.
The event started out with a tour of the resort’s newly completed Spa and Gym Facilities, then a Dancing Congo Line to the Beach followed by dinner served under all white decorated tents. A farewell brunch sponsored by Coconut Bay Beach Resort in the island’s south brought an official close to the program on departure day.