Bahamian hotelier, Stuart Bowe, has been named the 2016 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
Mr Bowe, the senior vice-president and general manager of resort operations at Atlantis, received the honour at the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, on Sunday.
In accepting the region’s top hospitality award, Mr Bowe credited his grandmother with teaching him service and attention to detail from “cleaning up the kitchen”.
Mr Bowe’s contribution to the hospitality and tourism industry spans more than 27 years, having “cut his teeth” in customer service and management working at McDonald’s in his teenage years, before entering the industry as a management trainee.
He subsequently worked his way up to senior management, working in every department and almost all job categories - from dishwasher to busboy, from bartender to laundry attendant, from housekeeping to maintenance, and from front desk to landscaping.
Mr Bowe earned a BA in accounting in 1986 from Florida State University, an MBA in marketing summa cum laude from Walden University in 2009, and is currently pursuing a PhD in applied management and decision sciences with a focus on leadership and organisational change.
Prime Minister Perry Christie described Mr Bowe as “an exemplar” to be followed by generations of Bahamians.
“He is a manager cum laude, one who has brought the pursuit of excellence to his work ...(and) on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, it is entirely on their behalf that I salute you for all that you have been able to do.”
“Stuart Bowe personifies Caribbean excellence. He is disciplined and innovative, and a leader who inspires generations of Bahamians and Caribbean people through his accomplishments and his humanity,” said Frank Comito, the CHTA’s director-general and chief executive, who previously served as the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association’s (BHTA) executive vice-president.
Mr Bowe was posted to Dubai from 2008-2010 to oversee the grand opening of the Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, serving as vice-president of resort operations in the Middle East.
Returning to the Bahamas, he became active in the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), establishing numerous school programmes to help children understand the importance of tourism and career opportunities in the sector.
The junior hotelier programme that he was instrumental in setting up in primary and secondary schools has impacted more than 4,000 students.
Now in his third consecutive term, Mr Bowe is the BHTA’s longest-serving president. He currently serves as first vice-president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).