LAS VEGAS, United States, Tuesday August 21, 2018 – Global luxury travel network Virtuoso has named Petra Roach, US Director of the Barbados Tourism Marking Inc. (BTMI), winner of this year’s sought-after Ambassador of the Year award at the 30th annual Virtuoso Travel Week conference.
She received the award during the Allied Partners Luncheon at Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas a week ago. The accolade is especially noteworthy as only a fraction of the network’s 1,700 partners are honoured at Virtuoso Travel Week.
“As the first person from the Caribbean to receive this prestigious award, we continue to be amazed by Petra’s pioneering spirit, leadership and determination to see Barbados reach new heights,” said Albert Herrera, senior vice president, Global Product Partnerships at Virtuoso.
“Petra is a true trailblazer in luxury travel, and continues to inspire the Virtuoso network of advisors by way of her exemplary product knowledge, commitment to our organizations core values and energized personality. We could not see anyone else more fit for the 2018 award.”
Roach said she still considered herself a “newbie” in the US market, so to be recognized by the leader in luxury travel is “an honour for which I am truly appreciative”.
“I have a small but exceptional team with whom I work and whose dedication and commitment is a constant inspiration to me,” she said.
In 2017, Barbados saw its highest visitation numbers from the U.S., with nearly 189,000 arrivals, besting the island’s previous US record of 175,093 set in 1987. It also saw a year-over-year growth of 11.7 percent, making it the top growth market of all regions.
In the past year, Barbados has seen significant growth with increased airlift via American Airlines and JetBlue, a plethora of new and refurbished hotels and properties – including the new Sandals Royal Barbados – and the continuation of its partnership with Virtuoso as a diamond sponsor.
Out of 144 countries ranked, Barbados was also named the #1 destination in the world for visitor satisfaction and named the Americas winner for accommodation on the 2018 Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI).
“This year was not just about breaking records, it was about strategizing a great plan for continued growth well into the future. This will be made possible through innovative ideas and high-level partnerships, which will ultimately continue to increase airlift and introduce new gateways,” Roach said.