Adam Stewart has opened a new wing at Sandals Royal Caribbean in the tourism resort city of Montego Bay, saying that it is testimony to the all-inclusive chain’s strong commitment to Jamaica in which it is investing US$240 million between 2021 and 2022, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to Stewart, the executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), US$40 million of that amount has so far been invested this year.
“We didn’t want to end this year in any other way but in a positive way and signal to Jamaica that not only are we investing in the new Sandals Dunn’s River that will open this time next year; not only are we investing in a new Beaches Runaway Bay, which starts construction next summer; not only are we investing in the new Sandals Royal Dunn’s River, which starts construction next summer; [not only are] we are investing in Beaches Negril with a major expansion, but our first opening is here today — Sandals Royal Caribbean — with the new High Grove Village, 84 new rooms and suites,” Stewart said at a ceremony on December 23.
“So, by virtue of our actions we are committed deeply to Jamaica, to tourism at large, and we believe ultimately that this [pandemic] too shall end and we’re going to get back to happy, as we say in Sandals Resorts,” added Stewart.
Addressing the event, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett lauded Stewart for perpetuating his late father, Gordon “Butch” Stewart’s legacy. He noted that during his recent trip to the Middle East, the Sandals brand was in high demand there.
He added that during his recent international visits to promote Jamaica he found that the island’s appeal is strong among travellers.
“So, what we are seeing are the elements of that connectivity coming together. But more importantly, we have detected an appetite for Jamaica, an appetite to make an experience, and we are also seeing a desire to engage Jamaican brands,” Bartlett said.
Stewart lauded Bartlett for his outstanding job of promoting the destination. He also lauded the Government for the safety protocols which, he said, when combined with the Sandals Platinum Protocol have led to a low COVID-19 positivity rate throughout the hotel chain.
“We have run the Sandals Platinum Protocol which, we believe, is the most comprehensive protocol of any hospitality company this side of the hemisphere,” said Stewart.
“It has kept us safe. We have worked hand in hand with the Government of Jamaica, with the national protocols with the Ministry of Tourism, and I think Jamaica has done incredibly well statistically if you look at extremely low positivity rates. Sandals’ positivity rate has been 0.156 positivity from the first of January 2021 to date to where we are, and I think that shows you that the protocols work,” Stewart insisted.
TEXT: HORACE HINES