The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is mourning the death of Jamaican-born tourism official, Marie Walker, who it said dedicated her life to the betterment of the Caribbean region.
“Marie Walker was a passionate tourism regionalist who never missed an opportunity to serve on a CTO committee, most recently at the Caribbean Week debriefing meeting two weeks ago,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO-USA.
“She shared her expertise freely and supported destination colleagues without hesitation. She exuded with warmth, energy and authenticity. The Caribbean and our small community of National Tourist Offices (NTOs) and allied members in the US have lost a champion. Marie will be missed by all who knew and loved her,” Brown added.
Walker worked in the Caribbean tourism industry for 40 years, most recently as the principal of Turnstyle Marketing where she worked closely with Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia. She served as a director of the Anguilla Tourist Board and vice president of sales and marketing with Antigua and Barbuda.
Walker began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board and was instrumental in growing business for Jamaica with the award-winning One Love advertising campaign and was an early innovator by engaging Jamaicans living abroad before the Caribbean Diaspora was established as a viable market.
Walker was the founder of the popular Jerk to Go restaurants in New York City and was planning the company’s expansion across the US.
She previously sat on the board of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies and has served on several CTO committees including the committee for the CTO’s Governments of the Caribbean State Ball.
The CTO gave no details about her death, but said Walker is survived by her husband, New York Supreme Court Justice Sam Walker, her parents Sadie and Clinton Deeble, her sister Jackie Vickers and other relatives.