The addition of Sandals Barbados to the local hotel sector contributed significantly to this country recording its highest ever tourism arrival figures last year.
Senior tourism consultant in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Hugh Foster made that disclosure during his feature address at Sandals’ monthly Prestige Awards ceremony recently.
Foster, a veteran in the industry with over three decades of experience, said that in 2016, Barbados continued to smash arrival records.
“An estimated 630,000 long stay visitors enjoyed themselves in Barbados in 2016; the 2015 arrival numbers were also a record. We are on a streak and with your (Sandals) help we intend to make it a long winning streak,” he said.
Foster said he believed Barbados should be on a quest to achieve one million long-stay arrivals and one million cruise ship passenger arrivals per annum, and that with the presence of Sandals this could be achieved.
“The Government created the climate for investment and I can assure you that it is pleased with the wonderful investment your employers have made in Barbados,” he said.
“As you know, further expansion is ongoing, for which we are also grateful. We welcome Sandals’ mega commitment to our hotel plant. Everyone is looking forward to the Beaches brand in the north,” added Foster.
Giving his full support to the awards programme, the tourism official encouraged other hotels to follow suit in honouring their hard working staff. “Good service is non-negotiable in the tourism sector. Anything less than best service practices for your guests in not an option. As frontline workers in the hospitality sector, being genuine in the delivery of those core values is priceless.
“Being genuine, being authentic, is the mirror that reflects the best of Bajan values and indeed the best of Bajan culture. These qualities, I am sure, are displayed by all of you in this room especially to the guests at Sandals,” Foster said.
Sandals’ general manager Fernand Zievinger congratulated the 15 awardees for their hard work.
“I am extremely proud of all our staff and notably the winners here today. It is because of their dedication and belief in our company standards that we maintain such a high level of service,” he said.
The Sandals Prestige Awards programme is the company’s way of acknowledging outstanding team members monthly, in various aspects of the operations, in categories such as the Circle of Joy, Legendary Talent of the Month and Diamond Talent of the Month.