Castries, Saint Lucia, Monday, November 1, 2021:– Vice-Chancellor of the The University of the West Indies Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, says the recent creation of the Caribbean’s first tourism university bears several positive implications for its future development.
The UWI’s chief executive, one week after addressing the virtual launch of The Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart International School of Hospitality & Tourism, says the new entity – created by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The UWI, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and Florida International University (FIU) – is “a natural alliance between three regional powerhouses in their respective fields, towards a common regional good.”
Sir Hilary explains it this way: “Tourism is our number-one business in the Caribbean and The UWI is its number-one university.
“The FIU has been a respected partner to Caribbean people and institutions for decades and in particular, counts many distinguished Jamaicans among its graduates and professors.
“It follows, therefore, that the three of us should collaborate to ensure our individual and collective oneness.”
Pointing to SRI, he says: “The Sandals Brand and its product are excellent and exquisite.”
Professor Beckles says The UWI is also “honoured to work with” Adam Stewart, SRI’s Chief Executive, “to celebrate the respected legacy of his father, the brilliant Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.”
He notes that “The idea of building-up a first-class tourism and hospitality school within The UWI to honour this legend, is at once exciting and energizing.”
And he underlines that “The UWI-Sandals-FIU engagement is therefore a powerful and progressive partnership that will serve our region very well in the years ahead.”
The Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart International School of Hospitality & Tourism, which was also celebrated by FIU President Dr Mark B. Rosenberg last weekend, will offer upgraded versions of existing programs, including BSc in Tourism Management and PhD in Tourism/Hospitality.
It will also offer newly-developed programs such as BSc in Hospitality Operations, BSc in Attractions and Events Management and Master of Science programs in Hospitality Management and Events Management from FIU.
Stewart told the virtual launch, “My dad spent much of his life pioneering and building the regional tourism industry.”
Therefore, he added, “There’s truly is no better way to celebrate his legacy than by working with The UWI and FIU to ensure the sustainable development of the region’s tourism, through training and investment in our young talent.”
“I know this project would have made him so happy and we cannot wait to cut the ribbon and officially welcome our first cohort of students,” Stewart said.
The new Caribbean hospitality university will be based in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
SRI has for decades provided its own training, with trainers from one property sharing lessons and experiences with others.
The tripartite MOU followed the London-based World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) indication last week that Caribbean tourism is recovering faster than any other region.
The new top-class hospitality university will also be the Caribbean region’s first of its kind.