IT was a gold-studded event for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts at the 9th Annual Travvy Awards Gala, as the Caribbean's leading luxury all-inclusive company earned top honours across five coveted categories.
The group was emboldened by a sixth and special honour for Adam Stewart, executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), who was presented with the prestigious Executive of the Year Award.
Held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Travvy Awards, produced by TravelPulse and AGENTatHOME, recognise the top travel industry suppliers in categories such as destinations, hotels, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and more, with Sandals Resorts earning the top award in the categories:
• Best Hotel Chain - Overall: Sandals Resorts (Gold)
• Best Hotel Chain - All-Inclusive: Sandals Resorts (Gold)
• Best All-Inclusive Adults/Couples Resort - Caribbean: Sandals Grande St Lucian (Gold)
• Best All-Inclusive Resort - Honeymoons: Sandals Emerald Bay (Gold)
• Best All-Inclusive Family Resort - Caribbean: Beaches Turks & Caicos (Gold)
• Executive of the Year - Adam Stewart, executive chairman
Touting Stewart's unwavering commitment to advance destinations throughout the Caribbean and his organisation's unmatched support of the travel advisor community, Mary Pat Sullivan, executive vice-president of marketing and partnerships for Northstar Travel Group, presented him with the Executive of the Year Award.
"Adam is carrying on an incredible legacy, leading with integrity, professionalism, a commitment to the Caribbean — a place he loves dearly — to sustainability, to the travel advisor community and to the travel industry. He grew up in this business, and I think we should all be really grateful for the next generation that is making leadership happen for our industry," she said.
"It's been a monumental year for Sandals and Beaches and we're all sure more is on the horizon," added Sullivan.
Stewart, who has been at the helm during a pivotal moment in the brands' evolution and enduring impact across the Caribbean, continues to champion all-new trends reimagining the all-inclusive experience with never-before-seen programmes like Island Inclusive dining — which invites guests to immerse themselves in local island flavours at off-site restaurants as part of their all-inclusive stay — as well as complimentary MINI Coopers for exploring the brands' island homes.
These programmes, together with cutting-edge suites, amenities and other Sandals 'Firsts', are a testament to Stewart's commitment to guests as much as to travel advisers curating the most unique Caribbean experiences for their clients, a news release from Sandals said.
"We are a company profoundly committed to sharing our beautiful part of the planet with guests from around the world," the release quotes Stewart, who is also executive chairman of the Jamaica Observer.
"Tourism fuels the economies of the Caribbean and travel advisers are critical to the region's success. In 2015, this team came to New York to celebrate another executive — my dad [Gordon "Butch" Stewart]. That year, he took home the Travvy Award for 'The Most Innovative All-Inclusive Resorts Executive.' He was very proud of that award, a recognition of decades of pioneering work to enhance and improve a vacation concept that guests absolutely loved, and travel advisers absolutely loved to sell.
"So being awarded here tonight is very humbling for me and a complete full circle moment. And to my team, there is no accolade I receive that you are not part of. I thank you for your dedication and hard work that have allowed us to pursue and expand upon the dreams we know are possible for the people and the places we love," added Stewart.