Canadian-educated Carrole Guntley is the recipient of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) highest honour for her contributions to Jamaica’s tourism industry.
She was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the recent Caribbean Week celebrations in New York.
“What a privilege and a pleasure it is to be able to honour Carrole with this award,” said CTO secretary general Hugh Riley. “This is just a small way of saying thank you to her for the tremendous contributions she has made to the life of the CTO and to Caribbean tourism in general.”
Jamaica’s tourism & entertainment Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said Guntley deserves the accolade.
“Over the years, Ms. Guntley has demonstrated an insight which I am confident will continue to be of benefit to the region,” he said. “Her accomplishments over the past few decades span not only the airline and accommodation sectors, where she has consistently demonstrated great vision and perseverance, but have been admired by the Jamaican government as well as industry colleagues.”
Guntley graduated from Ryerson University in 1975 with a degree in hotel, resort and restaurant administration. She credits the Ryerson experience for opening the door for her to become the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) first female director and a leading Caribbean tourism professional.
Guntley used the skills she was acquiring in the classroom to help organize the International Food Day event and she was an active member of the university’s Afro-Caribbean Society. She was the recipient of several awards, including the inaugural JTB Pringle Scholarship in Hotel Management and the Ryerson and Korey Awards for exceptional academic achievement and extensive participation in extra-curricular activities.
Since graduation, Guntley has served in several key tourism posts in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Starting as the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel’s executive sales manager, Guntley rose to the position of director of sales & public relations at the Rose Hall Inter-Continental Hotel & Country Club in Montego Bar, special assistant to the director of tourism, regional director of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the now defunct British West Indies Airways (BWIA) and the JTB’s first female director of tourism.
It was during her tenure as director that Jamaica achieved healthy visitor increases, reaching the landmark one million arrivals in a single year and earning the reputation in the marketplace as an all-round destination. She also launched Jamaica’s first and only sustained travel show, The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX).
Guntley is the recipient of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction, Ryerson’s Outstanding International Alumni Prize and the Jamaica 50 Award for her significant contributions to tourism.
Meantime, CTO chairman Beverley Nicholson-Doty will speak at the CTO’s investment symposium during the Caribbean Week Toronto Tourism event in the city next week.
“The Canadian market is critical to the region,” she said. “Caribbean Week affords the region an opportunity to call on our media partners to provide destination updates. It’s also an opportunity for consumers to take advantage of the compelling attractions we are offering and a stage to inform investors of the viable opportunities awaiting them across our member countries and territories.”