Golf clubs? Check.
Sunny Jamaican weather? Check.
Ice cold Red Stripe? Check, check.
Travel agents, tour operators, airline representatives and travel industry personnel were on hand in Jamaica from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 to take part in the 25th annual Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament presented by Baxter Media and Sandals Resorts.
Getting a perfect team photo isn’t as easy as it looks! @SandalsResorts #back9bybaxter pic.twitter.com/4UNVbcLkhe
— Baxter Media (@CdnTravelPress) November 30, 2019
Participants engaged in two fun-filled days of action at The Sandals Golf & Country Club along with experiencing the hospitality of Sandals Ochi Beach Resort and getting up close and personal with some special guests like Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby at Beaches Ocho Rios.
“After missing the tournament for a number of years, it was a great experience to return for the 25th annual Baxter/Sandals Golf event. The hospitality and camaraderie that is shared by everyone is not to be missed,” Doug Rollheiser, the owner/manager of Roblin Travel Service Ltd. in Chilliwack, BC, told Travel Courier Digital. “Sandals and Baxter did a great job making sure that everyone had a great time and got a chance to experience Sandals’ world-class service. It’s always fun getting a team of industry associates together and having a venue where it is about enjoying each other’s company and not having the focus on business first. I will definitely not be waiting as long as I did to return to experience it again – in fact, plans are in the works to attend again next year. Thank you Sandals and Baxter for a wonderful time.”
Similarly, teammate David Harris, the CEO of Ensemble Travel Group, said he’d certainly enjoy future opportunities to participate in the tournament.
“The event was very enjoyable on many levels – networking, organization and of course the venue and hospitality of Baxter,” he added. “My desire to participate was following 35 years in the industry, never having been a participant and because I was asked to participate with Manulife and two other Ensemble members.”
Get to know some of the golfers taking part in the tournament. @Manulife @RoblinTravel @ensembletravel @SandalsResorts pic.twitter.com/pTgTe91r8Y
— Baxter Media (@CdnTravelPress) November 30, 2019
Reflecting on the evolution of the tournament, Edith Baxter, editor-in-chief of Baxter Media, said it’s hard to believe that Sandals and Baxter have been hosting the tournament for a milestone 25 years.
“It is an event that our agency partners look forward to each and every year and it has always been an opportunity for good friends and good partners to gather and show off their skills on the links,” she said.
Longstanding attendee Jackie Smith has attended the event since 1993, including the year the tournament got cancelled in 2016 due to Hurricane Sandy.
“I had been organizing CITC/ACTA golf tournaments, so Sandals, asked me how do you organize a golf tournament?” she recalled. “They partnered with Bill and Edith Baxter of Canadian Travel Press and they called it the 1st annual Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament to be held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The Sandals/Baxter Golf Tournament brings travel agents and travel partners from across Canada together, while enjoying a few rounds of golf, exploring and learning what the Island of Jamaica has to offer and seeing and learning what Sandals and Beaches have to offer.”
The big winners of the 2019 tournament were Ryan Saroli, Agencia Global; Scott Roseblade, Goway Travel; Stavros Kotsireas, Flight Centre Travel Group and Spencer Sorensen, WestJet.
“The event was great. As professionals, golf is one of those sports that we all wish we had more time for, so coming out on top is always a thrill,” said Ryan Saroli, CEO – Agencia Global. “I was invited by Spencer Sorenson from WestJet, and this was a great opportunity to meet others from the travel agent community in a beautiful and collaborative setting. It was a great opportunity to network with experienced professionals in the industry and a great little break from the cold. It would be my pleasure to attend again.”
We caught up with Maureen Barnes-Smith, director of sales and marketing for Unique Vacations Canada to chat about the annual tournament. #back9bybaxter #sandalsgolf @SandalsResorts pic.twitter.com/vrS8Z82fnz
— Baxter Media (@CdnTravelPress) November 29, 2019
Travel advisor Wendy Hearn-Anderson of Vision Travel Solutions from London, Ont. said she looks forward to the event every fall.
“This is the third time I have participated in the tournament, and it gets better every year,” she exclaimed. “It is a well-organized event including two rounds of golf and cocktails and dinners in beautiful settings. We also had an opportunity to tour Beaches Ocho Rios and enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner with entertainment. The tournament is a great opportunity to network with travel agents from across Canada. Recently, at the Sandals Star Awards, Vision Travel won the awards for Best of the Best Agency and the Top Sandals Agency in Canada, so it’s safe to say Vision Travel is a strong supporter of Sandals and Beaches Resorts. I look forward to attending next year’s Sandals/Baxter golf tournament.”
For more on the experience, read the latest edition of Canadian Travel Press, and check out the photo gallery below.