Caribbean tourism mogul and founder of Sandals Resorts International, Gordon “Butch” Stewart dies at a hospital in the USA. He was 79 years old. His son Adam Stewart who is currently the Deputy Chair of the Sandals and ATL group, announced his father’s death, saying he was recently diagnosed with an illness but did not disclose the cause of his death.
Gordon Stewart was born in Kingston, Jamaica leaving his wife Cheryl and seven children. He formed his own business, Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) in 1968, which specialized in the importation and sale of air-conditioning units, water coolers, stoves and other appliances.
He later ventured into the field of hospitality in 1981 and acquired a few resort properties in Montego Bay which was later upgraded to Sandals Montego Bay. He used this as a stepping stone to expand Sandals Resorts which became the first company to offer the concept of an all-inclusive holiday in the Caribbean. In less than 10 years, Stewart established a Sandals Empire stretching from across the island of Jamaica and into a chain of resorts overseas. The all-inclusive brand thrived in the Caribbean and popularized tourist spots in islands such as Antigua, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Barbados and Grenada.
Stewart is known as the most successful Jamaican Businessman, receiving highest honours in the nation, including the Order of Jamaica (OJ) and Commander of the Order of Distinction (OD). According to Loop News, among a number of international awards received for his understanding accomplishments in the Tourism sector, Stewart also received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from Johnson and Wales University in 2011.
Behind these accolades, his infectious warmth and amiable character were the traits that credited his success. Those who knew him would attest to his gift to inspire and motivate others to become dream catchers. His son Adam Stewart says his father will be missed forever, as a “marketing genius and a talented showman,” who put his home country, Jamaica, on the map. Gordon “Butch” Stewart will certainly be remembered for his billion-dollar contributions to the Tourism industry in Jamaica and in more than 20 all-inclusive Sandals properties across the Caribbean.
May his soul rest in peace.
Sources: Breaking Travel News; Caribbean National Weekly; Loop News; US Day News