MORE than 150 Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA) drivers and administrative staff were feted in fine style by Sandals Resorts at a high-class appreciation function held at the Sandals Montego Bay Conference Centre, last Thursday.
The lavish cocktail reception on the lawns of the resort, followed by a sumptuous culinary fare inside the resort's ballroom was, according to Sandals Resorts International's Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, Sandals' way of saying thanks to the drivers and administrative workers of JUTA for their sterling contribution over the years, and particularly since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In lauding the outstanding performance of the drivers during the organisation's 25-year association with the resort chain, Stewart noted that, "Sandals has big plans for our partnership with JUTA," and that as his company continues to grow it will take JUTA on the journey.
In an address punctuated with frequent applause, Stewart praised the group for its professionalism and the tremendous role played in enhancing the experience of visitors to the island. He said there were many in the sector who predicted doom and gloom when Sandals partnered with JUTA but the collaboration has proven to be one that has flourished and transformed the tourism transportation sector, setting the benchmark across the country.
Noting that the drivers are often among the first persons visitors interact with when they arrive and the last when they depart, Stewart said the glowing reports from Sandals guests regarding the knowledge, courtesy and charisma of the drivers was testament to their outstanding service.
Also addressing the group was O'Brian Heron, general manager of Sandals South Coast. "You are the start of a dream," Heron said to rousing applause. "You are more than just persons bringing guests from the airport â€” you are part of the DNA of Jamaica's tourism."
Replying on behalf of JUTA, George Witter, senior executive, hailed Sandals for being an outstanding partner and praised their role in building the island's tourism product. He said he and his fellow JUTA members were appreciative of the amazing gesture shown by Sandals and look forward to a continued productive relationship.
Established in 1974 when tourism in Jamaica had started to gain momentum, JUTA has grown to more than 3,000 members across the country, supported by an expert team made up of mechanics, technicians and administrative personnel.
JUTA handles the lucrative deal to transport clients to Sandals and Beaches resorts across the island.