SANDALS Resorts celebrate 40-year milestone
SINCE OPENING its doors in Montego Bay on November 27, 1981, Sandals Resorts has employed thousands of Caribbean nationals, delighted guests, partnered with travel advisors, and played a significant role in the development of Caribbean tourism.
This year, as the company marks its 40th anniversary, a yearlong celebration will honour the legacy of the company’s Founder the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, OJ, CD, Hon. LLD; celebrate the company’s successes and look forward to Sandals of the future and the exciting developments to be executed under the leadership of the Executive Chairman, Adam Stewart, CD, a release from the company states.
“This year marks an incredible milestone for Sandals Resorts, and it’s especially meaningful as we take this moment to honour what my father created and carry on his revered legacy across the Caribbean,” said SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.
“Since the flagship opening in 1981 at Sandals Montego Bay, we have continued to elevate and lead the all-inclusive resort space. More than that, we have demonstrated that some of the industry’s most exciting and lasting hospitality innovation is created in the Caribbean. I’m proud to celebrate this milestone for our company alongside our Sandals family as we look to the next 40 years of inspired Caribbean vision and innovation.”
In honour of its 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts has announced a raft of groundbreaking initiatives and programmes targeting Caribbean communities, valued team members, loyal guests and stakeholders in the local, regional and global travel trade. Among the company’s yearlong celebratory programmes and initiatives are : The Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism.
In honour of Sandals’ late founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and his legendary entrepreneurial spirit and lifelong belief in the power of education, Sandals Resorts International announces the construction of the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and in conjunction with Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Both leaders in tourism education, FIU in partnership with The UWI, will develop the next generation of international tourism and hospitality leadership, through fully accredited undergraduate and graduate programming. The new school will be located on the Western Campus of The University of the West Indies, Mona in the Caribbean’s tourism capital of Montego Bay. A cutting-edge, research- led facility, the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism will offer students meaningful educational opportunities beyond the classroom.
“My father believed in learning by experience – ‘onthe- job training,’ as he often put it,” said Stewart.
“As a consummate entrepreneur and a lifelong dreamer, he knew success was born beyond the boardroom; found instead in the moments of exploration and discovery. It’s this drive that will inspire the world-class curriculum, putting students in real-world experiences as part of their development.”
Investment in education has long been a priority of SRI [Sandals Resorts International], and the new school will complement the Sandals Corporate University, which was established to provide Caribbean-based Sandals team members with opportunities to improve and develop occupational skills and earn undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
“When we invest in Caribbean people, we invest in the future of the region,” said Stewart.
40 for 40 Initiative: Projects Benefiting Caribbean Communities Although not a term when Sandals was founded four decades ago, the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been part of the fabric of the company since its founding. “The link between tourism and the well-being of the local Caribbean communities where we operate is undeniable,” said Stewart. In honour of the company’s 40th anniversary, Sandals Resorts International, together with the Sandals Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation launched in 2009 to help SRI make a difference in the lives of Caribbean people, is identifying 40 projects that best showcase the incredible link between tourism – the region’s most influential industry – and its power to transform Caribbean communities and improve lives.
Projects will be selected across five main areas: supporting local farmers; hospitality training & certification; preserving natural resources; harnessing unique artisan crafts; and community outreach. From ecological conservation efforts at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains and improving the capacity of farmers to increase their efforts toward sustainable food production, to working closely with local artisans to maximise on their talents, Sandals team members will be rolling up their sleeves to bring these projects to life and are inviting guests to join in.
Always on Island Time – Introducing the Sandals PalmCast Sandals Resorts is kicking off the conversation and keeping the Caribbean at the forefront with its first-ever podcast, “Sandals PalmCast,” giving listeners the inside scoop on all the latest happenings across the resorts with 13- to 20-minute- long episodes featuring expert insights, resort overviews, and special interviews with surprises along the way. With an average repeat guest rate nearing 50%, Sandals’ guests are immensely loyal and eager to learn about the latest happenings on resort and throughout the Caribbean from Sandals Resorts, a valued Caribbean brand ambassador, the company’s release adds.
Sandals team members across the region will also join in the celebrations through a range of activities and employee-focused initiatives.