The Canadian travel industry is tipping its hat to Mr. Gary C. Sadler, OD, executive vice-president of global sales and industry relations at Unique Vacations Inc. (UVI), where Sadler has shared his passion, grace and supreme expertise for 30 years now.
UVI, the sales and marketing arm of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, issued a release on Tuesday (July 12) to mark the milestone, calling Sadler a “driving force” at the company since 1992.
He is credited with championing many award-winning innovations, including the Certified Sandals Specialist program, one of the first opportunities for travel advisors and agencies to “learn and earn,” which has become standard in the industry.
“Gary embodies the values that we hold in highest regard, a commitment to exceeding customer expectations, the recognition of travel advisors as the invaluable partners they are and the certainty that, together, we can create Caribbean moments and memories that inspire our guests and impact communities,” said CEO of Unique Vacations Jeff Clarke, in a statement.
Relevancy & relationships
Reflecting on his thirty-year career working with and advocating for travel advisors, Sadler said, “I’ve learned two things: relevancy and relationships are everything.”
“I have had the privilege of representing the Sandals brand for 30 of its 40 years and from the very beginning, Sandals chose to forge its future alongside travel advisors – our ever-growing, ever-loyal partners on this glorious journey. Simply put, our better halves,” said Sadler.
“Nimble, savvy and undisputed masters of their craft, travel advisors have proven themselves again and again to be essential to our industry, a beacon of light for travellers through this exhilarating industry, filled with beautiful, unforgettable experiences and moments. They have helped travellers navigate through the best and worst of times, from moments of incredible connection to most recently, the uncertainties of returning to travel after a global pandemic. Their relevancy cannot be underestimated, which is why our relationship with them is paramount.”
Sadler began his sales career with UVI in Canada based in the corporate office in Toronto before moving west to Vancouver, where he pioneered the Western Canadian market before eventually leading all Canadian sales and marketing operations.
Since 2007, he has been based at UVI’s Miami headquarters with expanded roles and responsibilities, but has never forgotten his home country of Jamaica, where in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s tourism and hotel industry, Sadler was conferred with the coveted Order of Distinction in 2017.
Sadler supports many travel industry and hospitality causes and is a member of Skål International.
“I’ve worked with Gary during my entire 28-year career with Unique Vacations Canada and I can say it’s been a lively journey for sure,” said Maureen Barnes-Smith, vice-president, sales and marketing, Canada. “We’ve come a long way together, since those early days of the Toronto office first opening up and both of us trying to convince people that we weren’t selling shoes!”
A larger-than-life personality
Canadian travel advisors have shared their thoughts on the impact Gary Sadler had – and continues to have – in their businesses.
“From our very first meeting, Gary Sadler has been for me the larger-than-life personality that represents Sandals Resorts. His obvious enthusiasm for the brand and all that it stands for has been inspirational and motivating. His captivating speeches always make me want to make more bookings!” said St. John’s, NL-based Lois Barbour of Travel Time TPI.
TPI’s Kim Hartlen Travel of Lower Sackville, NS, added: “I have known Gary for 24 years, and when I hear him talk, even after all these years, his voice has always shown me to be very….G (generous), A (approachable), R (reliable) and Y (youthful). Thank you for always being there for me and my business. Congratulations on your 30th Anniversary!”
Kathy Kennedy of Village Travel Group in Lachine, QC said it “seems like yesterday that I first met Gary.”
“I have the privilege of knowing Gary for these same 30 years – not only as a mentor but also as a friend. His knowledge and passion for the Sandals product is truly from his grassroots as a playmaker working on the resorts to the forefront of helping travel agents achieve greatness. This passion can be felt through his presentations and his final words, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’ Gary…I thank you for believing in me and helping me learn to achieve my greatness with Sandals over the years and I am proud to be part of your journey. Happy 30th Anniversary. One Love.”
Brantford, ON-based Barbara Scrocco of TravelOnly said she first met Sadler when she started in the travel industry many years ago.
“Sandals was our first hotel brand that we partnered with and Gary was at the helm running the Unique Vacations office in Toronto at the time,” Scrocco said. “His zest for life, his sense of humour and his upbeat meetings with travel agents always made my day. Thank you for always being there for the travel agent community, looking for ways to grow our business, believing in us and keeping us motivated to forge ahead.”
“Congratulations Gary on your 30th Anniversary. Wishing you many more successful years in the travel industry. Great things lie ahead!”
Sadler added that as he looks to the future, he will continue to value “priceless partnerships, investing in our critical travel industry partners and offering professional support and programming to keep them successful.”
Industry members are invited to send their congratulations to Gary by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @garycsadler.