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St. Lucia and Bay Gardens win Tourism Awards

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Monday, January 31, 2005 - St. Lucia has captured two coveted prizes at the Second Annual Crystal Star Awards presented by Caribbean Star Airlines last weekend. St. Lucia won Destination of the Year and Bay Gardens, Hotel of the Year.

Held at Antigua’s Sticky Wicket resort, Caribbean Star Airlines invited the award nominees, tourism officials and regional media to be part of the celebrations, to recognize the achievements of the winners and the growth of Caribbean Star.

Chief Operating Officer for Caribbean Star, Edward Gilkes said, “Five years ago, nobody knew us, five years ago, they looked at us as a product that would perhaps drop out of the skies within a year. Four and half years later, we are now even a better household name than West Indies Cricket, because we are performing.”

Carrying more than 600,000 persons last year alone, the airline now operates 100 daily flights with a fleet of 10 aircraft serving 14 Caribbean destinations, stretching from Anguilla in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south.

The Crystal Awards recognize the efforts of travel agents, who sell Star Vacation packages to destinations served by Caribbean Star. St. Lucia captured the award of Destination of the Year. Receiving the award was Director of Tourism Hilary Modeste.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Modeste said, “This business is a lot about partnerships, that’s how you develop tourism. As a destination, we have the product, but then there are the partners with whom we have to work very closely so that we can deliver this award winning product to our consumers. Certainly, Caribbean Star has been a great partner, one that we appreciate”.

The award of Travel Agent of the Year was won by Junica St. John of Whitchurch Portsmouth Travel Agency in Dominica; she won a Suzuki Liana motor vehicle. St. Lucian nominee, Dawn Adbomra came fourth.

Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) President and manager of Bay Gardens Hotel Berthia Pearle, in her acceptance speech for the award of Hotel of the Year, noted that greater emphasis needed to be placed on beefing up inter-island travel. She said, “I have always been a great proponent of inter-Caribbean travel, and I still maintain that not enough is being done for us to grow that market. As it is now, we really have not begun to scratch the surface of really making it affordable for our Caribbean brothers and sisters to travel within the islands of the region. Before the Bay Gardens was built, we made a conscious effort to go after the Caribbean market, to offer our Caribbean family the same level of excellent service and quality we offer to our international visitors”.

Caribbean Star, part of the Stanford Group was founded in 2000, and has grown substantially since then. Its fleet includes seven new 50-seat DASH 8-300 aircrafts with all-leather seating, and by year-end, there are plans for a further three to replace the existing 37-seat DASH 8-100’s, giving the airline the newest fleet in the Caribbean.

Caribbean Sun, a sister airline was launched just over a year ago, serving the northern Caribbean.

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