Caribbean tourism executive Marie Walker

Marie Walker, a longtime Caribbean tourism executive and public relations professional, died July 10 in Florida, according to a Jamaica Gleaner report. Walker spent 40 years working in Caribbean tourism, most recently as principal of Turnstyle Marketing, whose clients included Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia.

Walker previously served as director of the Anguilla Tourist Board and vice president of sales and marketing with Antigua and Barbuda.

A Jamaican native, Walker began her career at the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Kingston headquarters and later its New York office. Walker was “instrumental in growing business for Jamaica with the award-winning ‘One Love’ advertising campaign,” said Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) officials in a statement.

They added Walker was “an early innovator by engaging Jamaicans living abroad before the Caribbean diaspora was established as a viable market.” More recently she was the founder of the popular Jerk to Go restaurants in New York City.

“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, Inc.

“She shared her expertise freely and supported destination colleagues without hesitation,” Brown said. “She exuded with warmth, energy and authenticity. The Caribbean and our small community of National Tourist Offices and allied members in the U.S. [have] lost a champion. Marie will be missed by all who knew and loved her.”

Walker 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.