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Sandals Cuts Ties With Funjet Vacations

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© Sandals PHOTO: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa. (photo courtesy of Sandals)

By Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse

Sandals Resorts International has terminated its distribution agreement with Funjet Vacations.

Effective May 26, The Mark Travel Corporation brand will no longer sell Sandals and Beaches resorts.

"As you may have heard, The Mark Travel Corporation's long-standing contract with Sandals Resorts has come to an end. This change applies to all of our brands," a statement on Mark Travel's VAX VacationAccess website confirmed. "While we know it was a difficult decision for them, we respect the decision and wish them the best in the future."

"We did not make this decision lightly, and as you know, Sandals has held a longstanding and remarkable relationship with Funjet Vacations," Sandals senior vice president of sales, Gary Sadler wrote in a message to travel agents last month. "They were instrumental in helping Sandals Resorts establish its brand."

"Please know that UVI will honor all bookings made with Funjet Vacations prior to May 26, 2018, and these reservations can continue to be serviced by Funjet, but we will not be accepting any new bookings."

Sadler added that the company would continue to work with tour operators such as American Airlines Vacations, Classic Vacations, GOGO Worldwide Vacations, JetBlue Getaways, Delta Vacations and Pleasant Holidays.

The news comes after Apple Leisure Group and Mark Travel completed their merger, forming an integrated leisure travel and technology solutions company.

VIP Vacations Inc. president, Jennifer Doncsecz recently hinted at the possibility of Sandals and Beaches cutting ties.

"Contrary to rumors, this move was specific to ALG and I don’t view as some sort of foreshadowing that Sandals/Beaches will sever ties with all tour operators," Doncsecz told TravelPulse. “It is my belief that they feel ALG, as owners of AMResorts, poses a conflict of interest if they carry Sandals/Beaches, a direct competitor of the AMResorts brand. Sandals/Beaches has very close relationships with many tour operators and would not want to jeopardize that relationship as having multi-channel distribution of their resorts is clearly beneficial."

However, the combined company's CEO, Alex Zozaya noted that the merger "makes sense" and would benefit agents.

"Agents and their clients will be the primary beneficiaries of the integration," he said. "Agents will still have access to the same brands they’ve always relied upon, but the product will be more comprehensive. As a combined entity, we’ll have more resources to leverage on behalf of our agent partners."

Zozaya said the company is focused on growth and that it wants "travel agents to grow with us."

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