Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, joined a diverse group of hospitality professionals at Florida International University (FIU) where he delivered the keynote address to some 400 students as well as faculty and industry stakeholders during the 29th Annual Graduate Student Research Conference at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Stewart, the head of the only super brand to have ever originated from the Caribbean, captivated the audience as he shared perspectives on hospitality leadership, Sandals’ journey in reframing luxury all-inclusive travel and the exciting future of Caribbean tourism.
The Executive Chairman’s address also explored themes of empowerment through the Sandals Corporate University, the impact of the Sandals Foundation across the region and also touched on the value of vision and ideas of courage in the face of risk.
“My job every day is that we want to share the best of the four corners of the Caribbean with the world. We’ve not only elevated the all-inclusive concept but also debunked myths about the potential of our region. The all-inclusive segment, spearheaded by us, is thriving and transforming the leisure industry.”
He further elaborated on how the industry is contributing to the growth and transformation of people and the Caribbean, “it is important to highlight that while we have the capability to innovate the all-inclusive experience and enhance the tourism industry with an exceptional product, our primary focus remains on making a genuine community impact. This commitment to people goes beyond business, this aligns with the core values of Sandals and Beaches. We don’t just build resorts; we are creating change. As we expand to new destinations like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, our goal is not just to build resorts, but to create a soulful, energy-infused environment. We’re more than a brand; we’re ambassadors for the Caribbean, inspiring airlines to increase airlift, connecting our islands with the world. Our success is rooted in agility, creativity, innovation, and, most importantly, our people. Our mission extends to addressing fundamental societal challenges and proactively engaging with governments to shape policies that uplift communities and bridge gaps.”
With 98% of the almost 20,000 people who work within Sandals being Caribbean nationals, Stewart also placed emphasis on the importance of job creation among other key factors, “employment is the first thing. Taxes are the second thing. But the big ones are supply and consumption. So support local farmers. Find a way through this hospitality world that we live in to change people’s lives. Be emotionally connected to what you do. Working side by side, give them a product that’s bulletproof, give them a product that when the customer comes, you win every time because it’s that good.”
Stewart concluded with a reminder to the audience to embrace the powers within them, pay it forward, make a meaningful impact and collectively shape a future where human values drive success.