Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett has hailed Sandals Resorts as a prime example of indigenous companies in the tourism sector that are taking their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to new heights, ensuring that the positive impact of tourism is reaching all corners of our communities. The Minister was speaking in New York City on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 as part of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) North America Leaders Forum panel: From Doing CSR to Being CSR.
Mr. Bartlett noted that in an effort to modify the perception that the tourism sector is too focused on the narrowed economic interest of a few and lacks a social conscience, stakeholders such as Sandals Resorts have been a leader and has been working with communities that surround their hotels for four decades. “To solidify and deepen that impact, Sandals launched its Foundation some ten years ago to expand that impact and today the value of their CSR programmes across the Caribbean stands over US$58 million, impacting over 850,000 people’s lives,” noted the Tourism Minister.
Minister Bartlett believes that the locally owned hotel chain has not just been doing CSR but being CSR. “Sandals shares the story of the Caribbean, our culture, heritage, struggles and resilience of our people with every traveler to this region, encouraging them to donate cash and in-kind, providing them with strategic volunteer opportunities while on vacation through its Pack-for-a Purpose and Reading Road Trips programmes,” stated the Minister.
During his remarks, the Tourism Minister sought to highlight a number of sustainable projects with direct linkages to the industry on which Sandals Resorts is focused. Among them, the Artisan Project, a partnership with the Development Bank of Jamaica through the World Bank Fund to upgrade the market-readiness of local artisan suppliers, building their capacity not just for local markets, but for international markets as well.
Another critical area for Sandals Resorts is the environment. “Sandals and the Sandals Foundation have continued to prioritize the environment with all their hotels being Earth Check Certified engaging both guests and team members in best practices to ensure everyone works together to protect the Caribbean’s natural resources,” noted Bartlett.
In citing Sandals Resorts as a CSR case study, he had high praises for the Foundation and its executive team which has projected that it will spend US$1.5 million annually on education, environmental sustainability and community driven programmes across all islands.