STEWART… we pour 7.3 million cups of Blue Mountain coffee in our hotels annually
Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, says the hotel group is contributing roughly $3 billion to the local manufacturing industry each year.
Speaking at the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association Annual Awards Banquet at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last Saturday, Stewart told the audience that despite adversarial relationships between the manufacturing and tourism sectors in previous years, both sectors now have a greater appreciation each other’s operations and are now in discussions to increase business activities.
Jamaica’s manufacturing sector currently contributes 8.3 per cent of gross domestic product and is hailed for providing roughly 73,000 jobs for the country. That’s estimated to be 6.5 per cent of Jamaica’s total employment rate. The sector also contributes $30 billion in taxes and exports up to US$680 million worth of products annually.
“When you go across the Caribbean and you want to buy products, you are forced in many instances to import products. My company buys 85 per cent local injections of what goes into our hotels,” Stewart stated.
“Forty-five per cent of that 85 per cent — which equates to $3 billion — is in manufacturing products for our hotels. We pour 7.3 million cups of Blue Mountain coffee in our hotels annually, that’s roughly 20,000 cups a day,” he continued.
Stewart added that over the years the Sandals Group has been conducting business with Wisynco for 22 million bottles of Wata, some 230,000 bottles of Appleton Estate Rum, and 33 million bottles of Red Stripe annually.
“When I tell you that you can get things made in Jamaica, anybody knows Carlton Brown?” he questioned the audience, referring to the well-known Jamaican fashion designer.
“We make clothes, food products, and I can tell you on a Friday when I sit in my payables meeting which is sometimes the most fun or the most painful. But this relationship that we have between manufacturing and tourism — manufacturing meets tourism and tourism meets manufacturing.”
The Sandals Group currently operates in nine Caribbean islands and is regarded as the largest private sector company in each island in which the group operates, except the Bahamas. The Group is listed among the top 500 most powerful brands in the world.
“Companies like ours are on a global stage. Most of the world thinks that Sandals is owned and operated by an American — but we are born out of Jamaica, run by a Jamaican with the micro-management team in Jamaica,” the CEO stated to applause.
“I am hugely proud of what my chairman and the people before me have achieved, and I always make decisions understanding how he got here and recognising how we are to get there. This is the modern world.”
Stewart noted that the emergence of technology has significantly impacted the competitiveness between global economies, adding that it is in Jamaica’s best interest that local operators explore ways to competitively operate in Jamaica. During the first quarter of the 2015/16 financial year, the retooling of some large companies in responding to global competition resulted in the creation of 7000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.
“From our vantage point we focus on competition. I’m privileged to get on an airplane and fly somewhere, and I say to people that I work with Sandals. Here is my product and this is what I do,” he said.
“We boast all the time that our company is the leader and it takes a lot of hard work, but I’m never too big to say to them … ‘Please, may I have your business’. And that’s typical of this world, because we are living in a time where we are all fighting for the same dollar.”
Published By: The Observer
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