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Luxury all-inclusive specialists Sandals and Beaches Resorts is set to launch a new in-house UK tour operator to the trade.

Unique Caribbean Holidays Limited (UCHL) will go live on April 10, 2017, with an Atol licence for 20,00 passengers.

The move sees Sandals and Beaches Resorts selling fully-protected Luxury Included®holidays directly to trade for the first time.

Karl Thompson, managing director for Sandals & Beaches Resorts in the UK & Europe, said: “Our relationship with our trade partners has always been at the forefront of our UK business model and therefore setting up as a tour operator was a natural step for us to further develop closer and more meaningful commercial and marketing partnerships”.

Sandals said commercial agreements are already in place with “key travel agency groups”

Global Travel Group’s commercial director Cherie Richards said: “We have worked with Sandals for many years and are thrilled that they will also be operating as a UK tour operator dealing directly with agents. Our members have benefited from the long standing relationship with Sandals and we are looking forward to strengthening the relationship further”

Thompson added: “In essence the new tour operation will allow us to have greater control over our destiny and enable us to offer so much more value to agents, from our new sophisticated booking engine combined with our enhanced and highly experienced call centre team, to access to a new training programme and industry workshops at our state-of-the-art Sandals Luxury Travel Store in London.”

Sandals will continue price parity through Unique Caribbean Holidays Limited

A new booking engine, developed with travel technology provider Traveltek, will allow travel agents to book online up to two years in advance and manage bookings with access to a flight and price availability calendar. There will also be a 24-hour helpline and agent portal.

Sandals also plans to roll out new incentives to the trade, and has earmarked 300 fam trip places throughout 2017.

To launch the new operator, agents can win a week’s Luxury Included stay in a butler suite at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica.

Six stays are up for grabs with bookings registered with the Sandals Agency Sales team and made between April 10 and May 5.

Meanwhile, Sandals’ commercial partnership with Funway Holidays will change on April 10, as its licence agreement expires after a ten-yea