MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, February 23, 2023 – Speaking at the inaugural Global Tourism Resilience Conference at the University of the West Indies (UWI) this weekend, Sandals Resorts International Executive Chairman Adam Stewart called on destinations and members of the hospitality community to invest in young people because the future of tourism depends upon it.
“We have faced and triumphed over what was arguably the most challenging moment the global travel and hospitality industry has ever faced, but as we look to the future, it is not pandemic but apathy that we must address. We must make young people excited to learn, grow and succeed in the travel business. The future of tourism depends on it,” said Stewart.
According to Stewart, a resilient tourism industry is one that recognizes the connections between a growing tourism sector and the overall economy, as well as the importance of upskilling, preparing the next generation of Caribbean people to hold critical leadership positions.
“We must hold the hands of the younger generation and start thinking beyond the expectations of our own. Gen Z thinks differently, and we must change our language to bring them in; we must inspire them to come into the greatest industry or else they won’t come — they will choose something else,” said Stewart. “In Jamaica, where tourism has been the country’s fastest-growing industries for several decades according to the country’s Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, an expanding tourism industry lifts all sectors of the economy. Agriculture grows with us, manufacturing grows with us, entertainment grows with us, everything grows with us.”
Stewart cited the efforts of Sandals to foster the next generation of hospitality talent, including the creation of Sandals Corporate University (SCU), founded more than a decade ago to provide Caribbean-based Sandals team members with opportunities to improve and develop occupational skills and earn undergraduate and post-graduate degrees; and the Stewart family’s recent announcement, the signing of a memorandum between Florida International University and The University of West Indies establishing the future Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality & Tourism in Jamaica.
“At Sandals, 98 percent of our 18,500 employees are Caribbean nationals holding the best jobs, at the highest level, and so I am confident that we can attract young talent to the field, because we’re doing it. But it comes with foresight, it comes with financial commitment, it comes with framework, it comes with preparing,” he said.
Held February 15-17, the inaugural Global Tourism Resilience Conference was designed to bring the global tourism community together to discuss investment opportunities, debate solutions to today’s most pressing challenges and increase cooperation for greater global resilience. Founded in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic when the necessity to anticipate, prepare for, manage and respond to disruptions that negatively impact the travel and tourism space came to the forefront, the Global Tourism Resilience Conference was presented by Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism and Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC).