CASTRIES, St. Lucia -- A blend of tropical breezes and cool jazz
offered the perfect atmosphere for Sandals seventh annual Ultra
Awards here at Sandals St. Lucia Golf Resort & Spa in Castries,
The weekend event culminated with a black-tie awards banquet
where Sandals' North American and U.K. travel industry partners
received awards for outstanding sales performance and marketing
innovation. Tour operators contracted with Sandals are eligible for
The event was co-hosted by disc jockeys Jade Alexander (Annette
Amargos) and Footy (John Kross) of Miami's Y100.7 FM. A special
performance was given by jazz flautist Nestor Torres who provided a
soothing blend of Latin and jazz rhythms.
Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts
International, applauded the efforts of the top-producing operators
and wholesalers and thanked them for their support.
The Ultra Performance Awards are based on Sandals Resorts' sales
figures from Aug. 1, 1999, to July 31, 2000.
Sales categories include Top Yield Performance (sales volume
divided by room nights), Top Growth Production (largest dollar
sales volume increase from 1998-99 to 1999-2000), Top Suite Seller,
Top Group Producer, Top Producing Tour Operator, Top Producing
Wholesaler and World's No. 1 Producer.
The winners are as follows:
In the performance category, Gogo Worldwide Vacations captured
the award for World's No. 1 Producer for the seventh consecutive
year. Travel Impressions took the second position, while Apple
Vacations and Air Jamaica Vacations finished as the No. 3 and No. 4
The winner in the category of Top Producing Tour Operator, U.S.,
was Apple Vacations, with Funjet Vacations placing second and MLT
Vacations filling the third slot.
Kuoni Travel took first place in the Top Producing Tour
Operator, U.K., category. Second-, third- and fourth-place honors
went to British Airways Holidays, Virgin Holidays and Thomas Cook
First place in the Top Producing Tour Operator, Canada, category
was captured by Air Canada Vacations. Second-place honors went to
North America Leisure Group. Signature Vacations placed third and
Holiday House finished in fourth place.
The Top Producing Wholesaler award went to Gogo Worldwide
Vacations. Travel Impressions placed second and Air Jamaica
Vacations finished in third place.
Leaders in Top Suite Seller category were Air Jamaica Vacations,
for Sandals Dunns River and Sandals Negril; Apple Vacations, for
Beaches Negril; Funjet Vacations, for Sandals Royal Caribbean; Gogo
Worldwide Vacations, for Sandals Antigua, Sandals St. Lucia,
Sandals Halcyon and Beaches Turks & Caicos; MLT Vacations, for
Sandals Montego Bay; Sunburst Holidays, for Sandals Ocho Rios, and
Travel Impressions, for Sandals Royal Bahamian.
Top Yield Performance awardees were Air Canada Vacations, for
Beaches Negril; Apple Vacations, for Sandals Inn; Conquest Tours,
for Beaches Turks & Caicos; Funjet Vacations, for Sandals
Montego Bay and Sandals Dunns River; Gogo Worldwide Vacations, for
Sandals Antigua; GWV Travel, for Sandals Halcyon; MLT Vacations,
for Beaches Inn; North American Leisure Group, for Sandals Royal
Bahamian; Sunburst Holidays, for Sandals Negril and Sandals St.
Lucia, and Travel Impressions, for Sandals Royal Caribbean and
Sandals Ocho Rios.
Top Production Growth, U.S., was awarded to Air Jamaica
Vacations. Tradewinds received the Top Production Growth, U.K.,
The winner for Top Group Producer was Maritz Travel Co.
"I want to thank everybody -- we've had the best year ever,"
Stewart said. "We've been busy all year trying to make things look
Two new Beaches properties are slated to open this month in Ocho
Rios, Jamaica. The additions to the Sandals and Beaches chain are
the Beaches Grande Sport at Ciboney and the Beaches Royal