~Created with the Sandals Foundation to Celebrate Sandals’ 40th Anniversary, Selected Projects Uplift Communities, Offer Voluntourism Opportunities for Guests~
#Jamaica, March 22, 2022 – In partnership with its philanthropic arm, the not-for-profit Sandals Foundation, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) announces the full list of projects under its 40 for 40 Initiative. Launched as part of Sandals Resorts’ 40th anniversary celebrations, 40 projects were identified across eight Caribbean destinations where SRI operates that best showcase the incredible link between tourism and its power to transform communities and improve local lives.
The 40 for 40 Initiative projects were selected across six areas: preserving natural resources through Conservation Efforts and Tours; Investing in Food Security by supporting and working with local farmers; Hospitality Training and Certification aimed at ensuring ongoing excellence; maintenance of cultural heritage through Support of Local Artisans and Music Education & Entertainment; and bolstering local economies through Small Business and Community Market Support.
Across the Caribbean, SRI team members from Sandals Resorts, Beaches® Resorts and the Sandals Foundation will be rolling up their sleeves to help bring these projects to life. Visiting guests can also support and participate in many of the activities taking place throughout the region.
“Tourism has the power to transform, not only the lives of the guests who immerse themselves in the charm and culture of the Caribbean while on vacation, but for our team members and neighbors who build their families’ roots in the region,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman, Sandals Resorts International and President and Founder of the Sandals Foundation. “This is the important work we build on and celebrate today, as part of our relentless efforts to strengthen the transformative link between tourism and the empowerment of our local Caribbean communities.”
Conservation Efforts and Tours
Through the Sandals Foundation, SRI has made the environment a priority, investing millions in education and advocacy programs, establishing marine sanctuaries, out-planting more than 12,000 corals, and engaging over 55,000 people in conservation efforts. Now, the team will advance its efforts to protect the region’s natural resources by expanding opportunities for marine conservation.
In honor of its late Founder, Chairman and philanthropic stalwart, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the team has partnered with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) to implement its ‘Sea the Legacy of Love’ Scholarship Program. The program will provide 40 Caribbean nationals across six islands with dive certifications from open water to master level. This, together with opportunities for guests to take part in activities such as coral out-planting in Jamaica and St. Lucia, will have a lasting impact on life below the surface.
Additional projects include supporting the Andromeda Gardens, a 6.5-acre botanical garden in Barbados created in the 1950s, and providing funding to assist in the recovery of sand dunes in Lucayan National Park in The Bahamas that were heavily impacted by invasive plants and storm surges.
Investing in Food Security
Together with the Sandals Foundation, SRI, which already sources over 90% of its food supply locally, is ramping up its investment in agriculture and the institutions training the next generation of producers. Various contributions will include equipment donation at the Agriculture Training College in Barbados, construction of hydroponics at Antigua’s Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Centre, and establishing community composting practices on-resort. The Foundation will also support the Grenada Network of Rural Women Producers (GRENROP), a group of 65 local women and at-risk youth charting their financial independence through agriculture.
Small Business and Community Market Support
The Sandals Foundation is continuing to invest in local businesses like the Oistins Fish Fry in Barbados, where locals and visitors alike can meet with vendors and enjoy freshly prepared seafood. Guests at Sandals have the opportunity to embark on paid tours that directly support these vendors and their livelihoods.
With establishments such as these accounting for on average 30 percent of its island’s global development product (GDP), the Sandals Foundation is committed to improving the welfare of operators as well as their earning potential by upgrading additional locales such as Cultural Market Place in Turks & Caicos and Pineapple Craft Market in Jamaica. The Sandals Foundation’s community projects are highlighted on resort, inviting guests to support through donations.
Supporting Local Artisans
For years, guests of Sandals and Beaches Resorts have had access to locally made items at its retail shops, proceeds of which are reinvested into local community groups. The Sandals Foundation will expand its hugely successful Caribbean Artisan Program by training more crafts people across more islands including Curaçao, St. Lucia, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos, providing more travelers the opportunity to take home a piece of the region. Sandals and Beaches Resorts guests can also look forward to meeting these craft men and women through pop-up shops on resort and seeing the magic unfold.
Music Education and Entertainment
From ska and calypso to Jamaica’s iconic reggae and dancehall, the unmistakable soundtrack of the Caribbean keeps visitors coming back and locals moving forward. Together with international partners, high school and college music educators will be trained on key techniques to further develop the region’s iconic sounds. Additionally, the 40 for 40 Initiative will culminate with a musical showcase that brings the magic of Caribbean music to Miami in order to help raise funds for continued growth of the region.
Hospitality Training and Certification
To ensure the continued training of future tourism industry players, the teams at SRI and the Sandals Foundation are supporting hospitality training and certification programs to strengthen vocational skills in the areas of food & beverage, health, beauty, and wellness. In Antigua, trainees can receive a health and beauty certification to gain skills for the fast growing wellness sector. In Exuma and New Providence, the Foundation will assist with year-long programs that supports commercial food preparation.
“We are very excited about these 40 projects of transformation and our role in helping realize the impact tourism makes in the Caribbean,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation. “Tourism touches almost every corner of local communities and we are fully appreciative of its ability to make a real difference. We are extremely grateful to every guest, team member, partner, travel advisor, donor and supporter who have volunteered or supported our work to improve literacy, healthcare, youth engagement and the many areas in which we focus. Together with our SRI teammates, we will continue to use the power of tourism to bring lasting change,” said Clarke.
Celebrating its 13th anniversary on March 18th, since its inception in 2009, the Sandals Foundation has implemented projects and programs valued at nearly US $79 million, touching the lives of more than 1.1 million people.
For a complete list of 40 for 40 Initiative projects, visit: https://news.sandals.com/article/1629/.
For more information about the Sandals Foundation and to donate, visit: https://sandalsfoundation.org.
Press Release: Sandals Resorts
US Milestone Celebrated
#Jamaica, June 30, 2022 – This year marks the United States of America’s (USA) 246th anniversary of Independence, and the milestone was celebrated with a reception on June 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. The event also featured the traditional United States Marine Corps Colour Guard ceremony.
“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join in commemorating this milestone with our American friends and partners. Today we celebrate a nation that continues to give practical meaning to the declaration of Independence and the vision of the founding fathers for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets have been central to the growth and development of the Union since 1776 and its transformation as a global leader,” he said.
For his part, US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, said the countries’ partnership has been rewarding, and expressed the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening the cooperation between the nations.
“On behalf of the United States Mission to Jamaica, thank you for joining us as we celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. As we celebrate America’s independence, we also celebrate 60 years of partnership between our two countries. Together we have promoted democracy, human rights, and shared security concerns,” he said.
Jamaica established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1962, following its independence from the United Kingdom.
The partnership focuses on reducing corruption; increasing transparency and good governance; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security efforts; strengthening basic education; and increasing energy resiliency.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has provided more than US$16.4 million as well as donations of vaccines to assist Jamaica’s containment measures.
Additionally, over the last 12 months, the United States has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to issue a record number of H2 visas, bringing critical, temporary labour to the US, while providing jobs for thousands of Jamaicans that resulted in millions of dollars in remittances.
Significantly, the Peace Corps, which is also celebrating 60 years of partnership with Jamaica this year, will resume its operations on the island beginning September, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism
June, 30, 2022 – The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, says tourism in the Caribbean is recovering faster than expected.
While presenting at the CHTA ‘Caribbean Tourism Fireworks’, she said the Caribbean travel and tourism sector experienced the second-fastest recovery of all regions in 2021. Travel and Tourism have contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 36.6 per cent. She added that they have recovered over 311,000 jobs.
“That is really a testament to how fast Caribbean tourism has been able to come back into play,” said Madden-Greig.
January and February were not as successful because of the uprising of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Travel heightened between March and June, and Madden-Greig reported that summer looks promising and that they “expect that winter 2022-2023 will also be strong”.
“For the June to August period, [the Caribbean is] ahead of our 2019 airline arrivals in terms of what is forecast and on the books by upwards of two per cent,” she said.
The CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks is what the trade association uses to communicate regional tourism performance and outlook survey results. In addition to the performance reports, other topics were discussed including the recognition of Caribbean tourism’s resilience; that investments by the tourism industry in capital improvements, health safety and product value are underpinning the region’s tourism recovery; and that labour shortages present immediate and long-term opportunities.
CHTA urged employers, governments, education and training institutions to recruit new employees and prepare communities for careers, employment and ownership opportunities within the sector.
Also present at the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Firework were CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, Vanessa Ledesma, Jamaican hotelier Clifton Reader, and the chair of CHTA’s Advocacy Committee.
While the speakers agreed that intra-Caribbean travel has great opportunities, they share that there are connectivity issues and issues with preserving, protecting and enhancing the region’s natural resources.
Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations
Communications Executive Rejoins Brand After Tenure at Distinguished Jamaican Law Firm
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, June 15, 2022 – Sandals Resorts International recently announced the appointment of Rachel McLarty to Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations, overseeing the company’s corporate communication efforts and public relations initiatives for the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands throughout the Caribbean. Reporting to Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and CEO Gebhard Rainer, McLarty returns to the organization after a ten-year hiatus where she previously held the position of Group Director of Corporate Relations.
“We are in a moment of tremendous momentum and require a skilled, expert hand to navigate through what will be an upcoming decade of unprecedented growth for the organization,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of SRI. “Rachel McLarty is that voice in the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the company as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and plan for the next forty.”
McLarty, who will be based in the Kingston headquarters of Sandals Resorts International, will lead a talented team of public relations and communication professionals in Jamaica and throughout the entire Caribbean region. During her first tenure with SRI, McLarty served as Group Director of Corporate Relations for the organization for a period of five years, beginning in 2006. Prior to rejoining the company, she served as an attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, one of the largest law firms in Jamaica. She is deeply committed to improving and developing Caribbean communities, currently sitting as Chairman of the Board for St. Andrew High School for Girls and the SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica.
“Sandals Resorts International remains the brand standard for Caribbean organizations, and it is an honour to rejoin the company at such a prolific time,” said McLarty. “And while I have certainly followed the tremendous success of the brands in the last decade, I have remained even more impressed by the organization’s continued commitment to the Caribbean, the region we all call home. I look forward to the incredible work to be done.”
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