The winners of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association???s (FCCA) essay competition will be leaving the island on Monday for Cartagena, Colombia, to collect their cash prizes for capturing first place in the competition at the regional level.

In the junior division, 12-year old student of The St. Michael School, Azizi Alleyne, won the junior division and beat his nearest rivals St. Maarten and Nevis, into second and third place respectively. In the senior division, 16-year-old Yannic Boyce, formerly of the Combermere School and now a student of Harrison College, was victorious over Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago, whose competitors had to settle for second and third place, respectively.

The winners, whose essays on the topic: What Makes my Destination Different from Others, will receive a cash prize of US $3, 000 and a similar prize for the school.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, will also be in attendance at the FCCA conference, which runs from Monday, September 30, to Friday, October 4, and will collect the cash prizes on behalf of the winning schools.

Meanwhile, Yannic who is still ecstatic about her win, said the essay took 45 minutes to write. She pointed out that Barbados??? tourism industry had a lot to offer locals and visitors alike.

???I like Barbados??? tourism industry because the country has a lot to offer. I did not notice it at first and I always used to complain that Barbados does not have anything exciting to offer but we actually do. There is a lot of culture and I actually like the industry???, she added.

Impressed with the prizes received for clinching the competition, Yannic encouraged students to enter the competition and said she was looking forward to going to Colombia to collect her prizes.

Azizi said the essay took three days to complete and he received historical information about Barbados from his mother who is a historian.

He observed that Barbados??? tourism product was ???steeped in history???. ???I think the wealth of history Barbados has is very interesting, and also, I know that my friends would not do any essay unless it had a reward. So, now that they know, I think they would enter the competition.???
Azizi said he was happy to win the competition and was looking forward to his trip to Colombia.

During the Conference, Yannic and Azizi will get the opportunity to read their winning entries before scores of delegates.

This year???s competition attracted entries from 19 Caribbean destinations.

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