Gordon Stewart, a Jamaican tourism business giant, has died. He died on Monday Evening.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1941, Steward grew up on the North coast. He came from an average family and learned the ropes in salesmanship. This led him to form his own business called Appliance Traders Limited in 1968.
Breaking into Hospitality
The business outfit started as a specialist in importing air-conditioning units, water coolers, and stoves. It has since succeeded in sales of many other appliances and homecare items.
In 1981, Stewart diversified into hospitality and acquired a few resort properties in Montego Bay, St James. One of these properties was upgraded and later launched as what is now the Sandals Montego Bay.
Later, he bought into Sandals Resorts. It became the first company to widely offer the concept of all-inclusive holidays in the Caribbean region.
In a decade, Stewart, the tourism business giant, had established a chain of all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. These stretched from Negril to Ocho Rios along the north coast. He then ventured overseas with the concept of all-inclusive resorts. In 1991, he ventured to Antigua, which was his first resort outside of Jamaica.
Over the years, his resorts have increased. He added more resorts in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and the Bahamas. He founded the Jamaica Observer newspaper in 1993.
In 1994, he acquired a majority stake in Air Jamaica. This was the national carrier at the time. ATL group paid $37.5 million for a majority share. Steward owned 46% of the shares and went on to become the new chairman of Air Jamaica.
Romantic Holiday Experience
Famously, Sandals Resorts gave two people who were in love the most romantic experience in the Caribbean. Boasting 16 stunning beachfront settings in Jamaica, the Bahamas, amongst others, it offers more inclusions than any other.
Sandals Resorts is a family-owned business that includes beaches and resorts. It is the leading all-inclusive resort company in the Caribbean.
Stewart had 8 children. One of his sons died in an auto crash in 1990. Stewart’s children have gone on to become successful in business internationally. One of them is Adam Stewart, the Deputy Chairman and CEO of Sandals Resorts and the ATL group.
‘Butch’ Stewart has won many awards over the years in Jamaica. These include the Order of Jamaica (OJ) and Commander of the Order of Distinction (OD). In 1992, Stewart won the Martin Luther King jr. humanitarian award.
He was also awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2001 and the University of Technology, Jamaica, in 2009.
Stewart has also won several international recognitions for his business accomplishments. Stewart might have been a tourism business giant in Jamaica, that doesn’t mean he was not a philanthropist. He won awards for his philanthropic work. In the field of hospitality, he has been an undisputed regional stalwart.
As at the time of his passing, he was on the board of many organizations. These include Sandals International Resorts Limited and the ATL Group of Companies, which includes the Jamaican Observer Limited.