PIGEON ISLAND (January 5, 2016) – Several Eastern Caribbean destinations could see increased business from Scotland, as one of the largest independent travel agency groups in the world familiarizes itself with Sandals in the sub-region.
Karl Thompson, Managing Director for Unique Vacations in the United Kingdom, is of this view following a successful visit by the Director of Barrhead Travel to the islands of Barbados, Antigua, Grenada and Saint Lucia.
The group visited six Sandals Resorts in the four islands over a four-day period.
Thompson believes that Scotland, with a population of over five million people, is growing in importance to Caribbean destinations as a key source market in the United Kingdom.
“It is part of Sandals overall growth strategy in the UK market where we have seen a 50 percent growth in the past two years. This will no doubt complement our objectives in that regard,” Thompson said.
During its Eastern Caribbean tour, the Scottish group also had an opportunity to meet and engage with Chairman of Sandals Resorts International Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who recognized them for their outstanding position in Scottish travel and the push to the Caribbean tropics.
The group was also brought up to speed with the Sandals expansion plans where the resort chain is currently building an additional 200 luxury rooms and suites in Barbados and an additional 32 suites in Grenada.
The 35 year old resort chain is also in talks with the governments of Antigua and Saint Lucia for expansion in those two territories.
Regional Director for Sandals Resorts International in the Eastern Caribbean, Andre Dhanpaul, believes that increased diversification in key markets will redound to greater sustainability levels for Sandals and the Caribbean islands where it operates.
“The Caribbean has for a long time depended on the southern part of England primarily for tourists arrivals, and is somewhat guilty of neglecting the north. But these markets have been untapped for a long time and therefore present a great opportunity for the Caribbean and Sandals to expand,” Dhanpaul said.
Scottish travelers primarily connect to the Caribbean via London and Manchester in addition to major US gateways.