True to its long-standing mission of using the power of its brand to empower people and make the Caribbean a better place to live, Sandals Resorts is celebrating its 40th anniversary by spearheading 40 projects of sustainable community transformation with the help of its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation.
Dubbed 40 For 40, the Caribbean’s leading hospitality organization and parent company of the luxury all-inclusive resort brands Sandals® Resorts and Beaches® Resorts, will showcase the incredible ability of tourism – the region’s largest employer and most influential sector, to bring lasting development and change.
“At Sandals Resorts International, we sell an experience that takes into account the culture, people, and natural resources that are unique to every island,” says SRI Executive Chairman and The Sandals Foundation Founder and President, Adam Stewart. “Since the opening of our first resort in 1981, and long before the term corporate social responsibility was a popular phrase, we’ve used the power of tourism to drive change in all corners of our communities. That’s what our 40 For 40 initiative represents; identifying projects that reflect our values of improving people’s lives.”
Tourism stands as the most productive industry in the Caribbean, directly and indirectly impacting more than 2 million people. Now, as the company enters a yearlong celebration of its 40th anniversary, its philanthropic arm will mobilize team members and collaborate with local organizations to execute projects that ensure food security, provide exposure to employment opportunities in the sector, invest in the region’s biodiversity, enhance the capacity of local artisans to showcase their unique heritage, and develop communities to empower families who by extent, are part of the visitor experience.
The company is also getting its team members involved by inviting them to nominate projects or programs in their communities that create linkages to the tourism industry.
“Our team members and guests are at the heart of what we do, and so they will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves by directly volunteering and contributing to the success of the projects, or by experiencing the outputs of the programmes through farm to table meals, joining local tours or helping to create beautiful learning gardens on our resorts,” said Stewart. “Over the next twelve months, and in addition to existing year-round efforts of our Sandals Foundation, these 40 projects will help to transform communities through tourism.
Kicking off the 40 For 40 initiative is the planting of 7000 trees and the management of 7000 more at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jamaica –the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The conservation efforts are being done in partnership with the Jamaica Conservation Development Trust and will enhance the biodiversity hotspot, which houses 50% of the island’s endemic plants, of which 30-40% of these species are found only within the property’s boundaries.
Other projects across the region include doubling efforts to increase the capacity of local producers and farmers in Grenada to develop and streamline the sale of value-added products in the agro-processing industry and the support of hospitality and service certification programmes in Antigua and The Bahamas that offer skills training and work experience to at-risk women and adolescents.