It was four days of pure celebration in Saint Lucia during the Global Piton Awards, hosted by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and honoring the top-producing and loyal Saint Lucia Expert (SLEx) Travel Agents from the U.S., Canada, UK and Ireland.
The top-producing travel agents are those who booked more than 300 room nights between March 2018 and March 2019, measured in room nights booked through the Saint Lucia Expert (SLEx) program—15 from the U.S., 10 from the UK and six from Canada. The long weekend was a true celebration, with spa teasers and a beach picnic at Pigeon Island National Park; an intimate breakfast with the Minister of Tourism, Information, Broadcasting, Culture & Creative Industries Hon. Dominic Fedee at Tapas on the Bay in Rodney Bay; a sailing to the view the Pitons, with a beach picnic at the secluded Anse Mamin; and, of course, the evening gala celebrating all the top travel advisors at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort & Spa.
“We are incredibly excited to honor our valued travel advisor partners this month at the Global Piton Awards,” said Kelly Fontenelle-Clarke, Director of Marketing, USA, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority. “Travel advisors remain an integral part of our industry and the Awards, along with the island immersion, honor the world’s best sellers while showing our appreciation for keeping Saint Lucia front and center when recommending the destination to their clients.”
And without further ado…the U.S. winners include Kerri Brewster of Escapes Unlimited; Karen Cavadas of Twinsburg Travel; Jennifer Doncsecz of VIP Vacations Inc.; Stacy Evos of A Girl’s Gotta Go; Nancy Finn of My Island Getaways; Kim Goldstein of Journeys Inc.; Mark Hennigan of Dreamers Travel; Veronica Kastukevich of Custom Travel; Leslie Kepplinger of Trips Ahoy; Christen Perry of Classic Travel Connection; Steve Simmons of Honeymoons Inc.; Sally-Jane Smith of Travel Smiths Inc.; Lynn Thomas of Alpha World Travel; Mitch Toren of TripGuy; and Tom Varghese of Travel Tom.
Canada’s awards recipients are Kathie Ashby of Ashby’s Travel Group; Shannon Blackburn of K Benn Travel Inc.; Ingrid Godman of Ingrid’s Travel; Jen Hardy of Nexion Canada; Reza Salkhordeh of Marlin Travel; and Ryan Smith of Robert Q Travel.
Saint Lucia is one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean and continues to be an amazing destination for clients since it offers so much more than just fantastic resorts with beautiful beaches. — Tom Varghese of Travel Tom
Top Destination: Saint Lucia
Perry mentioned to Recommend that what she loves about Saint Lucia and the reason she sells it is “because of the uniqueness of the resorts, and the variety of resorts. You can find something on Saint Lucia that meets the needs of almost every client.” It’s an ideal destination for “honeymooners, anniversary celebrations and couples’ getaways.” She adds that it’s also a safe destination. “Being able to walk down the street and feeling safe is a big plus.”
Goldstein, too, says that the property offerings are very unique, “not just a bunch of big box resorts,” pointing out that “it’s a good mid-range product for the value with gorgeous scenery, and a variety of activities that include mountain excursions,” not just hanging on the beach. She went on to say that the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority did a “fabulous job” for the 4-day Global Piton Awards celebration itself. “They really created a nice schedule, showcasing the island and all it had to offer. This was a unique opportunity to get to know them since it was a small group.”
Having attended the event several times, Varghese noted that “the Tourism Authority does such a great job in pulling the event together with not only recognizing the top agents at their Gala event, but also including island experiences and the opportunity to meet with the resort General Managers as well as local DMC partners. It is truly one of the best events in the industry and I work hard to try to make their ‘top list.’”
No wonder Thomas points to Saint Lucia as “my favorite place in the world.”