Pamela Swaby hailed as a tourism pioneer | News

Pamela Dare Swaby, the first Jamaican female North American representative of the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA) and pioneer in tourism, has died.

She died in Ontario, Canada, on February 16 at the age of 92. The funeral took place on Wednesday.

Swaby began his career in 1954 selling tours at the Bay Rock Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

As National Tour Manager, she traveled to New York to manage a new division for the Jamaica Tourist Board, selling villa vacations.

She also set up guided tours around the island, while training drivers and guides to brilliantly explain Jamaica’s historical, social and cultural points of interest.

Swaby was also the manager of the Trident Hotel in Portland.

In 1977, she moved to the Cayman Islands, a place she loved deeply, where she was instrumental in developing the island’s local tourism industry.

She helped launch two hotels – the Beach Club Colony and the Spanish Bay Reef – and was Past President of the Cayman Islands Hotel and Condominiums Association and recipient of a Cayman Islands Government Lifetime Achievement Award. for its service to tourism.

“While she was in Cayman, she watched the island transform from a quiet place of beach shacks, with almost no restaurants, to a vibrant destination with five-star hotels, fine dining and a solid reputation. excellent hospitality.Because of her hand in bringing about this transformation, she was knighted by Prince Henry, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, in 1988 as Lady Pamela Swaby, Lady of Grace, Sovereign Order of Oak,” reads a section of his obituary.

His daughter, Suzanne Hague, said in a Gleaner interview that his mother built her life around tourism in Jamaica and then in Grand Cayman.

“She believed in training and mentoring people. She was truly a dynamic force,” Hague said of her mother.

She recalled that when they lived in Mandeville, an employee of her father’s had a grandson who started misbehaving when he turned 16.

Hague said his mother sponsored his trip to Grand Cayman, mentored him, and today he is a successful businessman in the territory.

The Hague said the gleaner that his mother retired at least three times after she turned 65, before finally ending her career at the age of 80.

“She had a kaleidoscope of life,” Hague said with a chuckle.

Born in St Vincent in 1929 to Captain Harold Dare and Laura Dare, Swaby has built her personal and professional life around travel.

By the age of eight, she had lived in about nine countries, as her parents were eccentric and constantly on the move.

Swaby has often called herself a “kindergarten dropout” because she didn’t enter a formal classroom until she was 12, when her parents decided to move to Montreal, Canada.

Her parents separated and when she was 17 she moved back to Jamaica with her father.

While in Jamaica, she met and married Alva Swaby, who was a lawyer, but the union, which produced two daughters, lasted six years.

Grandson Matthew Hague said one of the most important lessons he learned from his late grandmother was that self-pity was a waste of time.

“She faced many difficulties. She survived cancer, had two strokes and suffered from lupus, but she never felt sorry for herself. Something bad was happening and she was like, ‘Come on, Swaby, let’s go!’ and boom, she was off to her next adventure. I am still in awe of that and think it will stay with me for the rest of my life,” he said.

Swaby is survived by his daughters Suzanne and Marcia, his grandchildren Chris and Matthew, and two great-grandchildren, Arianna and James.

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