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Butch Stewart, Diana and Community Tourism – A Tribute

Resource-Village-Bammy-making-with-Butch-Stewart

As I confront the sadness of the loss, I recognize the great memories and contribution he has made to me, and my journey in Community Tourism. I met Butch upon his entry into the tourism industry and was very happy to be among the lead campaigners for him to be the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA) President and immediately saw powerful qualities. Through a relationship of many years, he was very supportive of my efforts in Community Tourism, and as a small hotelier. When I was the Chairman of the Caribbean Hotel Association’s Small Hotels Committee, we made a pitch for the design of a ‘adopt a small hotel programme’, which encouraged large properties to select a small hotel to adopt to give them support with purchasing equipment, crockery, cutlery, linen at their prices rather than the higher retail prices, since we could not order large quantities and benefit from bulk rates. Also, to offer business development, training and marketing support.

Butch was the only large hotelier to respond positively to this programme and sent me a letter stating that he would like to adopt my small hotel in Mandeville - The Astra Country Inn. It involved a launch at Sandals Negril, and it included a credit line for us to purchase well-needed cutlery, towels, hand towels and wash rags. He then sent 7 rooms of furniture, including hairdryers. Among the most interesting memories and engagement with the community I recall, was when he wanted to discover one of our Countrystyle Community Experience tours and we selected Resource Village. The village became distinctive from its Marcus Garvey heritage and popular traditional way in making bammy. Butch participated in bammy-making and afterwards enjoyed eating with the community, the freshly made ackee and saltfish, boiled bananas and fresh fruit.

The testimony of his legacy lives on with the Sandals Foundation which has supported many community efforts across the country. His support continued for me personally. In 2008, when I was nominated for Virgin Holidays Best Personal Contribution Responsible Tourism Award, a competition with 10,000 others from around the world at World Travel Market in London. I had difficulty getting sponsorship to attend, and he invited me to his office, and sat me down in his down to earth style, and urged me on, and provided the funding I needed, stating “the world must know about this”.

This was not the only time he personally offered his support, upfront and silently. He was pleased that I won this Award together with TUI UK. These are just some examples that fall into an overall tapestry of contribution, which others can testify to. He truly was an amazing person; there will never be another Butch Stewart. I am, however, confident in the power of his legacy which lives on with his family and children. ********************************************************************************* Contact: Diana McIntyre-Pike O.D.
Founder/President
Countrystyle Community Tourism Network
Villages as Businesses
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 876-507-6326

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