March 1, 2021

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Travel-Lickin' Good

Remembering an Icon: Gordon “Butch” Stewart

In the most recent print difficulty for Vacation Agent, we rejoice location weddings and honeymoon journey, which will surely rebound immensely in 2021 and 2022 since of all the weddings that have been cancelled very last year, thanks to the pandemic.

That we’re also declaring adieu in this situation to the gentleman who brought grand innovation to the vacation spot weddings industry is not dropped on me. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman and founder of Sandals Resorts Worldwide, handed absent in January. In circumstance you are not confident of the effect Mr. Stewart had on the travel business enterprise in standard, contemplate this: When he opened what would become Sandals Montego Bay in 1981, he debuted the initially Caribbean hotel to provide whirlpools and satellite tv provider, the 1st with swim-up pool bars and the initial to warranty that every room was fitted with a king-sizing bed and a hair dryer. He also inked many partnerships over the several years to make dynamic offerings for Sandals clients, and most not long ago, in 2017, Mr. Stewart released the Caribbean’s initially about-drinking water lodging, which have been promptly expanded to include over-h2o bars and in excess of-h2o wedding ceremony chapels.

I visited with the Stewart spouse and children in 2007 at their house on Fowl Cay in the Exumas, the Bahamas for a feature I was composing for Journey Agent journal about the evolution of the Sandals brand. In the course of my go to, on the other hand, the story speedily turned additional about the loved ones dynamic, how Butch Stewart, his daughter Jaime and his son Adam worked collectively in synch to produce a flourishing lifestyle during the complete Sandals organization. My two most vivid reminiscences of the day, which was a wet just one, was how Mr. Stewart gazed at his little ones with his smiling eyes as they spoke about the family business enterprise. His pride was palpable, and so was his appreciate for them. My even more powerful recollection was that just as I was departing the sun came out and the photographer I’d flown down with was ready to get a good photo of the Stewarts for the go over of the magazine. [We also managed to get one with me in it (above)]. It was a magical instant and Mr. Stewart was so joyous in this lively tropical surroundings as he seemed close to at the verdant hills and the crystal blue water surrounding us. Grinning broadly, he spoke of publishing (he owned a big Jamaican newspaper), of vacation agents and how he loved the hospitality small business it was all one to him, all a single appreciate.

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I know the Sandals Resorts Intercontinental community misses their chairman and I will pass up him, as well, his innovation, his travel to press the envelope on luxury choices in the Caribbean and, most of all, that incredibly powerful spirit that absolutely life on in his children, his grandchildren and his Sandals household.

Gordon “Butch” Stewart

Gordon "Butch" Stewart

Butch Stewart, who passed absent  at the age of 79, was liable for a Jamaican-based mostly empire that involves two dozen providers collectively symbolizing the country’s biggest personal sector group, the greatest foreign exchange earner and its most significant non-govt employer. At the time of his passing, he was tough at do the job on strategies for the just lately announced expansions to Curaçao and St. Vincent.

The firm Butch Stewart built continues to be wholly owned by the Stewart relatives, who, in honor of Butch Stewart’s very long-time period succession plans, has named Adam Stewart chairman of Sandals Resorts Worldwide, extending his leadership of the manufacturers due to the fact he was appointed CEO in 2007.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Adam Stewart said, “Our father was a singular temperament an unstoppable force who delighted in defying the odds by exceeding anticipations and whose enthusiasm for his relatives was matched only by the people and probability of the Caribbean, for whom he was a intense winner. Absolutely nothing, apart from probably a excellent fishing day, could arrive right before loved ones to my father. And although the entire world comprehended him to be a phenomenal businessman — which he was — his to start with and most important devotion was constantly to us. We will miss out on him terribly without end.”

A son of Jamaica, Butch Stewart was born in Kingston on July 6, 1941 and grew up together the island country’s North Coastline. At the age of 12, Stewart would market new-caught fish to area accommodations and, after finishing his secondary training abroad, Stewart returned to Jamaica wherever he labored at the Curaçao Trading Business, rising to the position of gross sales manager. In 1968, Stewart persuaded American producer Fedders Corporation to allow for him to stand for the brand in Jamaica. With that, Stewart’s foundational company, Appliance Traders Constrained, was born.

In 1981, Stewart invested seven months and $4 million in a rundown resort on a beach front in Montego Bay, Jamaica it would become Sandals Montego Bay and the flagship of the all-inclusive resort chain. According to the push announcement, Sandals Resorts was the first Caribbean lodge firm to present whirlpools and satellite tv provider, the very first with swim-up pool bars and the very first to ensure that every single space is equipped with a king-dimensions mattress and a hair dryer. New innovations have provided a signature spa idea and partnerships with businesses this kind of as Microsoft Xbox Engage in Lounge, Sesame Workshop, PADI, Mondavi Wines, Greg Norman Signature Golfing Courses and the London-primarily based Guild of Expert English Butlers. In 2017, Stewart launched the Caribbean’s first about-water lodging, which ended up immediately expanded to contain over-water bars and about-drinking water marriage ceremony chapels.

Stewart as Statesman

Stewart’s management, in accordance to the push statement, assisted resurrect Jamaica’s vacation field. He was elected president of the Private Sector Business of Jamaica in 1989 and was inducted into its “Hall of Fame” in 1995. He served as a director of the Jamaica Tourist Board for a ten years and as president of the Jamaica Lodge and Vacationer Affiliation in the mid-80s.

In 1994, Stewart led a group of investors to choose leadership of Air Jamaica, the Caribbean’s largest regionally centered carrier. When Stewart stepped in, he touted on-time provider, lowered waiting traces, amplified schooling for all staff and signature cost-free champagne on flights to accompany an emphasis on far better foods. He also opened new routes in the Caribbean, brought on new Airbus jets and recognized a Montego Bay hub for flights coming from and returning to the United States. In 2004, Stewart gave the airline again to the authorities with an boost in earnings of over $250 million.

Gordon Butch Stewart with Adam Stewart

Paying tribute to his father, Adam Stewart said, “While the entire world understood him to be a phenomenal businessman — which he was — his very first and most important devotion was often to us [his family].”

It was not the 1st time Stewart would occur to the support of his region, Sandals suggests. In 1992, he launched the “Butch Stewart Initiative,” pumping $1 million a week into the formal overseas trade marketplace at below prevailing charges to assist halt the slide of the Jamaican greenback. His philanthropy, formalized with the creation in 2009 of The Sandals Foundation, presents guidance ranging from the developing of colleges and paying out of teachers to bringing healthcare to these who cannot afford it. Further than the get the job done of the basis, Stewart has provided hundreds of thousands to charitable results in, such as celebrating the bravery of veterans and initial responders and supporting people in the wake of hurricanes.

In 2012, Stewart started the Sandals Corporate University, aimed at offering qualified improvement for employees by means of trustworthy education and training systems. With access to more than 230 courses and external partnerships with 13 major-rating nearby and worldwide universities, just about every workers member can implement, broaden their information and advance their profession.

Stewart’s successes in company and in lifetime gained him a lot more than 50 area, regional and intercontinental accolades and awards, which include Jamaica’s best national distinctions: The Order of Jamaica and Commander of the Buy of Distinction. In 2017, Stewart was honored with the inaugural Life time Achievement Award at the annual Caribbean Lodge & Resort Financial commitment Summit, hosted by the Burba Resort Community.

Gordon “Butch” Stewart is survived by his wife, Cheryl, children Brian, Bobby, Adam, Jaime, Sabrina, Gordon and Kelly grandchildren Aston, Sloane, Camden, Penelope-Sky, Isla, Finley, Max, Ben, Zak, Sophie, Annie and Emma and good grandchildren Jackson, Riley, Emmy and Willow.

People wishing to share memories, condolences or own stories could do so at [email protected]

The Stewart relatives has manufactured the non-public services out there to look at at www.inmemoryofgordonbutchstewart.com

Adam Stewart studies that the loved ones has also proven two new applications to honor his legacy of currently being a beacon of hope for the Caribbean. 

“Through our esteemed Sandals Corporate College, and due to the fact of my father’s like for mentoring, we will introduce a new Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart Tourism & Hospitality Scholarship, which will gain individuals throughout the Caribbean used in the tourism sector. To celebrate his avid like of the sea, we have made a devoted Maritime Conservation energy in his title. Collectively these avenues will assist sustain our beloved Caribbean for generations to occur,” explained Stewart.  

Extra facts can be observed at www.sandalsfoundation.org.

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