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In Memory of Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Sandals Resorts

Tourism Minister mourns the passing of tourism icon Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart
Tourism Minister mourns the passing of tourism icon Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart

The World Tourism Network mourns the death of Gordon “Butch” Stewart, A Tourism Visionary and founder of Sandals Resorts was a Hero from Jamaica. Stewart was 79 years old and lived by the principle: “When you do good things, do them quietly.”

The World Tourism Network joins with the Stewart Family, the Sandals Family, and the people of Jamaica in mourning the death of one of the Caribbean region’s tourism legends and a tourism hero. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, age 79, was the founder of the Sandals Resorts. 

Stewart started his career with merely an idea and turned that idea into one of the Caribbean’s successful chain of all-inclusive resorts. The Sandals brand is known for quality, romance, and caring and outstanding customer service. He was the founder, owner, and chairman of Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, and their parent company Sandals Resorts International.

Stewart was a visionary.  He was also resilient.  No matter what the problem or challenge faced Butch Stewart confronted it with a sense of quiet purpose and ethical determination. He had the foresight to combine the convenience of the all-inclusive property with the spice of romance, and in so doing became not only one of the Caribbean’s leading businessmen but also a symbol of success with dignity, hard work and honesty for the entire Caribbean region.

Butch lived and shaped the future of the Caribbean. In April Gorden Butch son Adam Stewart said about his parents:

Both of my parents came from a generation that says, “When you do good things, do them quietly.”

What you find inside a Sandals resort is very much outside, too. Beauty. Optimism. Gratitude. But there’s so much more “out there.”

What you find inside a Sandals resort is very much outside, too. Beauty. Optimism. Gratitude. But there’s so much more “out there.”

Sandals Resorts International Kicks Off a New Decade with 11 Prestigious Awards
The Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart and Deputy Chairman, Adam Stewart accept the notable award for the 27th consecutive year

For example, Dad would block off certain days at a Beaches Resort and bring busloads of kids from underserved areas to enjoy a little vacation and learn about tourism — he still does that. He gave any fees he earned for serving as President of Hotel Association to fishermen. He’d only hire independent drivers for airport shuttles so the resorts would be providing jobs rather than taking them away. Only recently have people know that 96 percent of the produce in the restaurants comes from local farmers. Those are the types of business decisions he’s always made to support people who need it.

Adam said in April: “I could go on and on, but Dad wouldn’t want me to.”

Father-and-son Caribbean hospitality leaders and devout philanthropists, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman & Founder of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), and Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of SRI, have made it their personal and corporate social responsibility to shape the lives and the future of the Caribbean for over 40 years.

Adam explained: “Mom has helped people on the frontlines for decades. Dad wanted to be an honorable businessman. He stayed in Jamaica to start a business at a time when people were leaving for places where they could make more money, more quickly. He earned trust and integrity. That’s why people in even the most rural communities know Sandals not just as a resort, but as people who passionately want to do good. “

Stewart died in Miami, Florida in the United States, on 4 January 2021 at the age of 79. He had been suffering from an undisclosed illness. A private funeral service will be held.

The World Tourism Network and eTurboNews celebrate Butch Stewart’s life. He symbolizes that small businesses that pursue an idea with diligence, hard work, and vision can become tourism industry leaders.