Marie Walker, a longtime Jamaica-born tourism representative, passed away last week, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) officially reports. It called her a “friend who dedicated her time to the betterment of the Caribbean region.”
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.
“Marie exuded the warmth and hospitality of the Caribbean and was a great force in bringing visitors to the islands she represented,” Barbara Magro, director of business development — Florida and Caribbean at Questex Travel Group, says. “She was one of the greatest in the industry — full of life, fun, innovative ideas and enthusiasm; a great friend and business colleague. She leaves a huge void in the industry and in our hearts.”
Walker began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in its Kingston headquarters and later moved to JTB's New York City office, where she worked her way up to become advertising relations manager. She was instrumental in growing business for Jamaica with the award-winning One Love advertising campaign.
Walker was the founder of the popular Jerk to Go restaurants in New York City and was planning the company's expansion across the U.S.
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.
Walker is survived by her husband, New York Supreme Court Justice Sam Walker, her parents Sadie and Clinton Deeble, her sister Jackie Vickers, nieces Nicola and Celine and other relatives and friends. A celebration of life ceremony is being planned for New York and Florida.