After an unfortunate two-year hiatus, due to the global pandemic, the 26th annual Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament hosted in partnership with Sandals Resorts and Baxter Media was back in full swing at the Sandals Golf & Country Club in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from Oct. 30-Nov. 3.
“It is so amazing to be here face-to-face for the first time since 2019,” Maureen Barnes-Smith, vice president of sales & marketing for Unique Vacations Canada, told Canadian Travel Press. “We have 17 teams representing the length and breadth of Canada — some of our top travel industry professional partners are here. We have so many new golfers this year but lots of our old golfers returning. We have some agents who have been selling Sandals for 20 odd years but this is their first tournament. So again, it’s joining new attendees with old supporters.”
Representatives from Air Canada/Air Canada Vacations, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Uplift and Voyzant were just some of the travel industry representatives on hand joining travel advisors from across the country for the tournament. Notably, the newly appointed Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Emina Tudakovic, and Gary Sadler, executive vice president of Global Sales & Industry Relations for Unique Vacations Inc., also joined the festivities.
“27 years ago was the inception of the tournament and it started with the great late Edith Baxter and our then director Donna Haynes who had a brainchild — why not bring people to Jamaica to golf? We were the first company in Canada to do that — bring travel professionals in Canada together in destination,” explained Barnes-Smith. “In the first couple of years it was really seriously about the golf. As the golf tournament grew, it became so much more about the partnerships, the networking. It’s become a signature event for the Canadian travel industry. They look forward to it.”