The Saint Lucia Tourist Board clearly prizes those worthy of awards.
The board recently feted five Canadian travel agents and more than 20 American ones who won a Piton Award, a tribute to agents particularly appreciated by the destination.
The winning agents were hosted on the island June 11-14, where their sales of Saint Lucia were acknowledged at a formal dinner at the home of the country’s deputy prime minister.
“I’m thanking you sincerely on my own behalf and on behalf of the government,” tourism minister Lorne Theophilus stated. “I know the reason why we’re doing exceptionally well is because of your efforts.”
Saint Lucia saw record tourism arrivals in 2013 and 2014 and was up 5.8% through mid-June of this year.
Tracey Warner-Arnold, the island’s deputy director of tourism, in turn said her destination is “really grateful… for the efforts you the agents put into selling this destination.”
The 27 agents who were at the event collectively sold over US$25 million over the previous year.
Canadian winners were Ontario’s Jairus Maus of Tripcentral.ca, Waterloo, Ont.; Toronto agents Nancy Miklian of Travel Sensations, Shannon Coyle of New Wave Travel, and Gillian Gervais of Marlin Travel, Brookfield (who was unable to travel to Saint Lucia); plus Lois Barbour of Travel Time in St. John’s.
“I think it’s a real honour and an indication of the efforts the tourist board has made to promote Saint Lucia,” Maus told Canadian Travel Press. “It recognizes the work travel agents have done to promote a fabulous destination.”
Miklian, who earned the honour for the second straight year , said,
“The thought and planning that the Saint Lucia Tourist Board put into this unique trip was amazing. So many thoughtful details and such a great itinerary… We were each allowed to bring a guest and were wined and dined and shown why everyone loves Saint Lucia,” adding, “It’s an honour and pleasure to be recognized for helping make my clients’ vacations become lifetime memories. It is my pleasure to help arrange a holiday that is suited to their individual desires. Saint Lucia is an island second to none with so many amazing resort and activity choices for many different ages and lifestyles.
“Honestly, pictures do not do it justice – you have to go and see the beauty and feel the warmth.”
The Piton Awards are part of the destination’s Preferred Agent Saint Lucia Specialist (PASS) education and training program. Eligibility for both cash and hotel incentives, involve agents completing a course, be either IATA/CLIA/ARC/CLAA certified, attend a Saint Lucia presentation at least once per year, and regularly update bookings online.
The benefits of the PASS program include personalized PASS marketing tools, complimentary and discounted fams, a listing on the Saint Lucia Tourist Board web site, access to thousands of travellers from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board via live chats and complimentary site inspections.