Stewart discusses next generation of Caribbean hospitality at SKIFT Global Forum
SKIFT President Carolyn Kremins discussing global travel with Sandals Resorts International Executive Chairman Adam Stewart at this year's SKIFT Global Forum held in New York City from September 19-21. (Photo: Neil van Niekerk)

Bringing the Caribbean to the main stage at one of the travel industry's most influential annual events, Adam Stewart, executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International, was invited to speak to an audience of nearly 1,000 industry leaders about the brand's mission to create the region's next generation of hospitality leaders.

"Tourism is a global economic driver and by far the largest contributor to local economies in beneficial and sustainable ways," Stewart told the audience at this year's SKIFT Global Forum in New York city.

"It's important for regional companies to look inward for talent. We're committed to developing people locally from the island countries where we operate to build world-class employees. Creating opportunity through education is fundamental to our organisation and the successful future of the Caribbean, as it is to all people seeking a better life for themselves and their families. We are proud to play a part in developing and flourishing hospitality talent in the Caribbean," he added.

Stewart also imparted the importance of strong linkages with a wide range of stakeholders from the region's entire ecosystem, from farmers and fishers to entertainers and taxi drivers — all to ensure beneficial economic connectivity within the local communities and the importance for organisations to have the opportunity to buy locally.

He shared the work of Sandals' internal team development engine, The Sandals Corporate University, and imparted plans for the Gordon "Butch" Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism, a collegiate institution in conjunction with The University of the West Indies and Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality.

Set to open in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the world-class institution will help prepare the next generation of tourism professionals regionally and internationally.

SKIFT Global Forum is produced by SKIFT, the leading news source for international travel executives. Monitoring the ever-evolving transformation into the future of travel, SKIFT's award-winning team of journalists provides pivotal media insights on key travel sectors with marketers, strategists and technologists top of mind.

Joining Stewart as a speaker at this year's conference were some of the travel industry's most innovative and distinguished leaders, including Expedia's Chairman Barry Diller; Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky; JetBlue's president and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty; Marriott International CEO Anthony Capiano; and more.

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