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The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s “Icon of Hospitality” title celebrates the careers and lives of extraordinary leaders whose work in Caribbean hospitality has stood the test of time and left its mark on CHTA and the region. The association’s new ultimate recognition honors legendary professionals who have not only achieved phenomenal business success but have also mentored and molded those aiming for excellence in this industry.

Gordon “Butch” Stewart

On behalf of Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association President Nicola Madden-Greig and the entire CHTA Executive Committee, it is our honor to pay tribute to Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who elevated Caribbean tourism to the pinnacles of international leadership in luxury tourism and to his exceptional attention to the quality of life and employment for those in the most dynamic sector of our regional economies.

“Butch” Stewart is synonymous with tourism in the Caribbean and throughout the world for his pioneering creativity which propelled the hospitality sector towards all-inclusive resorts.

The tourism sector always ignited his entrepreneurial instincts. As a pre-teen, he sold fish to local hotels. As a young man, he recognized the appeal of cool air in the steamy Caribbean conditions to locals and tourists alike and started an air conditioning company.

In 1981 he took the money he had made selling air-conditioning units and bought an old beachfront hotel in Jamaica, spruced it up, and re-launched it as Sandals Montego Bay, which became the flagship of an international chain of Caribbean-wide all-inclusive luxury resorts. His model elevated Sandals Resorts International as a global leader in sustainable luxury hospitality.

Widely recognized as an incomparable pioneering champion of modern Caribbean tourism, Gordon “Butch” Stewart showed the world that luxury could be sustainable and profitable.

Today Sandals Resorts International – which includes Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, Fowl Cay private island resort, and four villa properties – has a presence across the Caribbean, including Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Turks & Caicos.

Always willing to share his expertise and valuable time, he accepted many leadership roles in Jamaica’s tourism industry. In 2009, he created the Sandals Foundation in 2009, which supports school construction, education and healthcare access across the region. The Foundation is also committed to investments that create a positive and sustainable impact on Caribbean communities, including those related to environmental causes.

In 2011, Sandals launched Island Routes Adventure Tours, which offers excursions throughout the Caribbean and in Mexico. It has grown to become a multiple World Travel Award-winning company offering hundreds of adventures that let visitors and locals get up close and personal with our destinations’ amazing experiences.

Through the Sandals Corporate University, staff members without formal academic qualifications have access to an avenue to advance their education. In partnership with internationally recognized universities, professional organizations, and local education institutions, the SCU offers programs that range from basic hospitality-specific training to training that can lead to a masters or doctoral degrees.

“Butch” Stewart’s many contributions to the betterment of the region earned him Jamaica’s highest national distinctions, including the Order of Jamaica, and numerous accolades from other admiring countries.

CHTA is proud and privileged to bestow on the Honorable Gordon “Butch” Stewart the Icon Award, the highest recognition our association bestows upon extraordinary individuals in the Caribbean hospitality industry who have left an indelible mark on our industry’s history. We present this posthumous award with great admiration and respect, honoring his enduring legacy in the Caribbean hospitality industry.

We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues and invite them to join us in celebrating his life and achievements.