FIRST WOMAN TO BE APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF TOURISM
In the history of Jamaica’s tourism and the corridors of the Jamaica Tourist Board, the name Carrole Guntley-Brady will always be remembered. She brought to the JTB grace, tolerance, tenacity, leadership and good management at a time when the industry faced one of the most challenging periods of its existence.
Carrole Guntley-Brady will also be remembered as the first woman to be appointed Director of Tourism in Jamaica. She was appointed Director of Tourism for Jamaica on June 5, 1984. Her distinguished career has marked her as a technocrat and professional with the appointed goal of promoting tourism in all its most valid manifestations.
Mrs. Brady began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board in 1973 while attending the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Canada. Beginning then, until 1978, she worked summer and vacation jobs with the Board, both in Jamaica and Canada. Her various positions included Telephone Communications Operator and Administrative Assistant, Product Department.
While at Ryerson, she received numerous accolades in recognition of her exceptional academic achievements. The awards included: The Inaugural Pringle Scholarship in Hotel Management awarded by the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ryerson and Korey Gold Medals for exceptional academic achievement and extensive participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
Following graduation, and receipt of a degree in Hotel and Tourism Management, she worked, from 1976 to 1978, as Executive Sales Manager of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston and, from 1978 to 1983, as Director of Sales and Public Relations at the Rose Hall Inter-Continental Hotel and Country Club in Montego Bay. In 1983 she was appointed Special Assistant to the Director of Tourism.
In 1978, she was elected to the Council of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and in 1982 was named a regional director of the Caribbean Hotel Association. (She relinquished these posts when she joined the staff of the Jamaica Tourist Board). In 1983, Mrs. Brady was presented with the Golden Helm International Award. Sometimes called “The Oscar of International Tourism”, it was awarded to her for “having contributed with real competence and dedication to the determining factors for development of tourism”.
In 1986, Mrs. Brady was named one of the top fifty business and professional women of the world by “Dollars & Sense Magazine” of the U.S.A, and in July of 1987 she was made an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. An Anglican, she takes an active interest in the culinary and performing arts and is known in Jamaica for her contributions as an organizer of highly acclaimed cabarets and fashion shows in aid of charity.
A former Special Assistant to the then Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Anthony Abrahams, Carrole Guntley-Brady assumed office in 1984 and was to remain as Director for the next six years. As a mark of the calibre and character of this worthy candidate, she served under three Ministers of Tourism, straddling different political administrations over the period.
Carrole Guntley-Brady brought to the JTB a holistic approach to tourism management and development. Quickly grasping the need for Jamaica to restore confidence among its people at home, rebuild its reputation overseas as a safe, desirable, destination and to remain competitive, she embarked upon the task of strengthening the tourism product. She advocated for and supported legislation to address the problems of harassment, and in 1986, also spearheaded a public education campaign to create awareness locally about the industry and its importance to every Jamaican.
A strong believer in the power of education, she constantly stressed and promoted the importance of training. She helped to create opportunities for workers at various levels and assisted some to benefit from overseas training.
During her administration, great emphasis was placed on Marketing and public relations. The JTB reopened its office in Germany; and new offices were opened in Japan and on the West Coast of United States of America. The creative “Boonoonoonous” vacation package was also launched in a bid to transform Jamaica from a winter retreat to a year-round vacation destination. These efforts were supported by “Update”, a programme instituted to reacquaint travel agents and writers with the delights of the island.
This strategic approach led to increased visibility and in 1986, Jamaica was awarded the bid to host the historic Mazda Golf Tournament, a coup for the country and the region.
In 1988, the passage of Hurricane Gilbert and the resulting damage to the island, posed yet another challenge for the Guntley-Brady administration. Proving once again her ability to rise to the occasion, she rallied her team and in an intensive awareness campaign averted serious damage to the island’s travel industry.
Her strong guidance and leadership as Director of tourism, contributed greatly to the island’s attainment of its one millionth visitor in 1987. She also launched the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), Jamaica’s first’ and only sustained trade show, geared to showcase the product at source.
Today, Carrole Guntley-Brady’s name is synonymous with success, creativity, dynamism and dedication, not only in Jamaica but throughout the Caribbean. She continues her record of excellence with one of the region’s leading airlines.
According to the Gleaner article entitled ‘Pickersgill, Guntley among 10 women honoured at Caymanas’, the citation to Carrole Guntley read in part that: “She has established an international reputation for innovation and leadership. In an illustrious career that spans almost three decades, she has brought unparalleled growth to the sector. “She has brought a wide range of professional acumen to the field and has enjoyed the confidence of the industry.
During her tenure as director of tourism, Jamaica recorded phenomenal growth in this area for which Ms. Guntley has received several citations, awards and National Honours including the Order of Distinction, Commander Class. “She currently holds the position of director general in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and is a major player in Jamaica’s Master Plan for sustainable tourism development”.