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‘Gimme Five’ a hit with agents


RANDY BENNETT

‘Gimme Five’ a hit with agents

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THE CONCORDE EXPERIENCE provided a unique opportunity for more than 100 British travel agents, along with several local businesses on Monday.
And from the look and sound of things, it was a huge success.
The annual event, Gimme Five & Fly, put on by the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), received rave reviews from stakeholders, especially the British-based agents.
Now in its 12th year, the initiative offers travel agents from Britain an opportunity to win a trip to Barbados if they make five bookings or more to Barbados between January 1 and May 30.
During their six-day stay on the island, they will get the opportunity to experience the attractions, cuisine, hotels and services which Barbados has to offer.
According to business development manager for the BTA in London, Cedric Lynch it serves as good tool in helping agents to sell Barbados as a tourist destination.
“It is more of an incentive because it encourages them to sell Barbados and it is good for both the UK and Barbados, as well as the airlines.
“There are people who would have sold three or four tickets and wouldn’t have qualified, so the numbers do add up,” Lynch explained.
Executive vice-president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) – which teamed up with the BTA to host the event – Sue Springer, told the media that over the past week more than 150 UK-based travel agents visited Barbados.
She revealed that having toured with the majority of them during their stay, the consensus was that Barbados had a lot more to offer than what was being advertised.
“The thing that came across to me from a number of the agents was that they didn’t realise Barbados had so much,” Springer said.
“They kept telling me that there was more to Barbados than they thought and that people coming here for a week or ten days would have plenty to do.”
Springer also said most of the agents’ perception of Barbados being an expensive vacation spot had also changed after dining at some of the restaurants.
She added that most of them actually thought the island was very affordable.
Margaret Ramm, who works with UK travel agency Travel Counsellors, told the DAILY NATION one of the most surprising elements about her trip to Barbados was how friendly the people were.
“It’s my first time here and it is tremendous. The people are so friendly . . . and you feel welcomed wherever you go. You always feel refreshed.”
“It’s a much more beautiful island than I thought it would be.”
Shaun Rowley of Travelcare World, also spoke highly of the hospitality which he received.
“I just think the hospitality which we received on the island was incredible. I was surprised at how lush the island is . . . but my one memory will be how friendly the people were.”
Reginald Medford, managing director of Medford Craft World ­– one of the local businesses which were on hand to showcase their products –  referred to the event as “superb.”
He said it was the perfect opportunity for both the agents and the local businesses to interface and interact.
“Everyone will benefit from this. The agents, the businesses and most of all, Barbados,” he stated.
His views were shared by sales manager of the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Catherine Mapp, who called it a fantastic idea.
“It’s a great way to bring all of the agents together, under one roof, where they can view all of the different properties.
“It is a great initiative because there is no way I could leave here and go to London and see so many agents at once, so from a cost point of view it’s definitely fantastic,” she said.
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