In this month’s print issue of Travel Agent, we celebrate destination weddings and honeymoons, which are sure to explode in 2021 and 2022 due to the many weddings that were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
It has not escaped my notice that in this issue we also say goodbye to the gentlemen who have brought great innovation to the destination wedding industry. Gordon Butch Stewart, president and founder of Sandals Resorts International, died in January. If you’re not sure what impact Mr. Stewart has had on the travel industry as a whole, consider this: When he opened what would later become Sandals Montego Bay in 1981, it was the first hotel in the Caribbean with a Jacuzzi and satellite TV, the first with pool bars and the first to guarantee that every room would have a king-size bed and a hairdryer. Over the years, he has also formed numerous partnerships to create dynamic offerings for Sandals’ customers. Finally, in 2017 Stewart introduced the first Caribbean wedding venues, which were soon expanded to include bars and wedding chapels on the water.
In 2007, I visited the Stewart family at their estate on Fowl Cay in the Exumas, Bahamas, for an article I wrote for Travel Agent Magazine about the evolution of the Sandals brand. During my visit, however, the story quickly turned to how Butch Stewart, his daughter Jaime and son Adam worked together to create a thriving culture at Sandals. My two most vivid memories of that rainy day are of Mr…. Stewart watched his children with a smile as they talked about the family business. His pride was palpable, as was his love for them. An even stronger memory is that just as I was flying away, the sun came out and the photographer I was flying with was able to take a beautiful picture of Stewarts for the cover of the magazine. (We also managed to get one with me in it (above)). It was a magical moment, and Mr. Stewart was so happy in this vibrant tropical setting, looking at the green hills and crystal blue water all around us. He usually talked about publishing companies (he owned a large Jamaican newspaper), travel agencies and his love for the hotel business; all this was one love for him.
DAILY NEWSLETTER ABOUT NEWS AND TRANSACTIONS
What’s the story? Sign up to receive daily news and promotions!
Learn about the latest product launches, offers, promotions and executive appointments. Don’t forget to sign up for this free daily newsletter about the region.
I know that the Sandals Resorts International network misses its president and I will miss him, his innovation, his willingness to push the boundaries of luxury in the Caribbean and most of all that strong spirit that I am sure will live on in his children, his grandchildren and his Sandals family.
Gordon Butch Stewart
Butch Stewart, who died at the age of 79, headed the Jamaican empire, which includes two dozen companies that make up the country’s largest private enterprise group, largest foreign exchange earner and largest non-government employer. At the time of his death he was busy with the recently announced expansion plans in Curaçao and St. Vincent.
The company founded by Butch Stewart remains wholly owned by the Stewart family, who appointed Adam Stewart as president of Sandals Resorts International in honor of Butch Stewart’s long-term succession plan, which has expanded the brand’s leadership since his appointment as CEO in 2007.
Speaking on behalf of his family, Adam Stewart said: Our father was an extraordinary man, an irresistible force who loved to defy the odds, exceed expectations and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and opportunities of the Caribbean, of which he was a passionate advocate. Nothing, except maybe a great fishing day, comes before family with my dad. And although the world understood that he was a phenomenal businessman – which he was – his first and absolute loyalty was always to us. We will miss him terribly forever.
A son of Jamaica, Butch Stewart, was born on the 6th. Born in Kingston in July 1941, he grew up on the north coast of the island. At the age of 12, Stuart was selling freshly caught fish to local hotels. After high school, he returned to Jamaica where he worked for the Curaçao Trading Company, rising to the position of sales manager. In 1968 Stewart convinced the American manufacturer Fedders Corporation to allow him to represent the brand in Jamaica. Thus Stewart’s founding company, Appliance Traders Limited, was born.
In 1981, Stewart invested seven months and $4 million in a beachfront hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica; it became Sandals Montego Bay and the flagship of the all-inclusive resort chain. According to a press release, Sandals Resorts was the first hotel company in the Caribbean to offer a Jacuzzi and satellite television, the first to offer pool bars, and the first to guarantee that every room has a king-size bed and a hairdryer. Recent innovations include a spa concept and partnerships with organizations such as Microsoft Xbox Play Lounge, Sesame Workshop, PADI, Mondavi Wines, Greg Norman’s Signature Golf Courses and the London Guild of Professional English Butlers. In 2017, Stuart unveiled the first Caribbean wedding venues, which were soon expanded to include bars and wedding chapels on the water.
According to a press release, Stewart’s leadership has helped revitalize Jamaica’s tourism industry. In 1989, he was elected president of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and in 1995 was inducted into its Hall of Fame. He was a director of the Jamaica Tourist Board for ten years and president of the Jamaica Hotel and Visitors Association in the mid-1980s.
In 1994, Stewart led a group of investors to take over the management of Air Jamaica, the largest regional airline in the Caribbean. When Mr Stewart took the stage, he emphasised timely service, reduced queues, better training for all staff and free champagne on flights, while emphasising better food. The airline also opened new routes in the Caribbean, introduced new Airbus aircraft and set up a hub in Montego Bay for flights to and from the United States. In 2004, Stewart returned the airline to the government and increased revenues by more than $250 million.
Adam Stewart paid tribute to his father and said: While the whole world saw him as a phenomenal businessman – which he was – his first and foremost loyalty was always to us [his family].
This is not the first time Stewart has come to his country’s aid, Sandals said. In 1992, he launched the Butch Stewart Initiative, which injected $1 million weekly into the official currency market at a rate lower than the current rate to halt the decline of the Jamaican dollar. His philanthropy, formalized in 2009 with the creation of the Sandals Foundation, provides support ranging from building schools and paying teachers to providing medical care to those who can’t afford it. In addition to the foundation’s work, Stewart has given millions to charitable causes, including. B. to recognize the courage of veterans and first responders in helping hurricane victims.
In 2012, Stuart established the Sandals Corporate University, which aims to promote employee professional development through serious education and training programs. With access to over 230 courses and external partnerships with 13 leading local and international universities, every employee can apply, expand their knowledge and advance their career.
Stewart’s success in business and in life has earned him more than 50 local, regional and international awards and honours, including Jamaica’s highest national honours: Order of Jamaica and Commander of the Order of Distinction. In 2017, Stuart received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit, hosted by the Burba Hotel Network.
Gordon Butch Stewart is survived by his wife Cheryl; children Brian, Bobby, Adam, Jaime, Sabrina, Gordon and Kelly; grandchildren Aston, Sloan, Camden, Penelope-Sky, Isla, Finley, Max, Ben, Zach, Sophie, Annie and Emma; great-grandchildren Jackson, Riley, Emmy and Willow.
Those wishing to share memories, condolences or personal stories may do so at [email protected].
The Stewart family has provided a private service, which can be reached at www.inmemoryofgordonbutchstewart.com.
Adam Stewart reports that the family has also launched two new programs to honor her legacy as a beacon of hope for the Caribbean.
Through our esteemed Sandals Corporate University and my father’s love of mentoring, we are introducing a new Gordon Butch Stewart Scholarship in Tourism and Hospitality, which will benefit those working in the tourism industry in the Caribbean. To celebrate his passionate love of the sea, we have developed a special marine conservation program in his name. Together, these trails will help preserve our beloved Caribbean for future generations, Mr. Stewart said.
For more information, see www.sandalsfoundation.org.
Sandals announces its first location on Curacao
San Juan Airport now offers PCR testing for all passengers.
South Coast Sandals introduces new suites with swim puck
Turks and Caicos Islands completes COVID-19 test site
chyril stewartgordon 'butch stewart housegordon butch stewart parentshow did gordon butch' stewart diegordon 'butch' stewart familygordon 'butch' stewart sandals resorts,People also search for,Privacy settings,How Search works,See more,Gordon "Butch" Stewart,Jamaican hotelier,Gordon 'Butch' Stewart Sandals Resorts,chyril stewart,gordon butch stewart parents,how did gordon butch' stewart die,gordon 'butch' stewart family,sandals founder gordon 'butch stewart,gordon stewart obituary