MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, Jan. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This year, the World Travel Awards bestowed a very special accolade as part of the 26th Annual World Travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony, which took place at Sandals Montego Bay on January 28th, 2019. The Stewart family on behalf of the Sandals Foundation was presented with the Outstanding Leadership in Social Responsibility award – a prestigious honor presented to an organization which has not only made a positive contribution to the travel and tourism industry, but to the very people and land who provide their businesses to flourish.
While millions have called the Caribbean their vacation destination, beach paradise or tranquil escape, Gordon "Butch" Stewart, Founder and Chairman of Sandals® Resorts, refers to it as something much more personal: home. His passion for the Caribbean region translated into the philanthropic values that have been at the forefront of the resort company's values since its inception 37 years ago.
Many may believe Gordon "Butch" Stewart's love affair with the Caribbean started with a reinvention of the hospitality industry, but there was already plenty of philanthropic activity stirring up in this salesman-turned-entrepreneur. At Appliance Traders Ltd, he brought the innovation of air conditioning to Jamaican consumers while sharing the same luxury for free at the then newly built Cornwall Regional Hospital.
In 1981, after opening the first Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Stewart immediately began offering his assistance to anyone and everyone that needed it – all while navigating the uncertainty of a new company. Local communities like Whitehouse and Flanker experienced unprecedented transformation through donated supplies, free repairs and meaningful sponsorships.
2009 saw a new milestone for the brand as son Adam Stewart, now Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts, decided to further organize these efforts by launching the Sandals Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Extending a reach far beyond Jamaica into Antigua, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados and Turks & Caicos, the Sandals Foundation is committed to fulfilling the promise of the Caribbean community through investment in sustainable projects in Education, Environment and Community, directly improving lives and preserving surroundings, with a Corporate Social Responsibility Award presented in 2016 by World Travel Awards and new campaigns launching to eliminate single-use plastic and Styrofoam across all resorts.
Fast forwarding to the Sandals Foundation's 10-year anniversary this March, the impact has been truly remarkable with the overall dollar amount of projects and programs implemented valued at over 58 million dollars and the total number of persons positively affected across the region is well over 850,000.
The organization's impact touches more lives than just countries the brand has resorts in – during times of crisis, the Sandals Foundation has been on the ground following natural disasters in neighboring islands, including Haiti and Dominica and the Out Islands of the Bahamas. When guests visit Sandals and Beaches Resorts, they are directly supporting countless projects taking place all over the region, restoring hope and changing the face of the Caribbean for generations to come.
The Sandals Foundation and Stewart family are proud to have been recognized with this highly coveted award, and look forward to continuing the Foundation's efforts to make a longstanding positive social impact.
To learn more about the Sandals Foundation and the positive impact it's made throughout the Caribbean, please visit sandalsfoundation.org/about/our-mission
SOURCE Sandals Resorts International