|Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, congratulates Kemar Roberts of Harrison College, who placed second in the 2012 Speak-Off Competition on Monday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Looking on (2nd right) is third place winner, Jane Small of St. James Secondary School.
The future of the tourism industry has been encapsulated in a vision statement, the result of collaboration between various sector organisations and representatives, including the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and former Junior Minister of Tourism, Dionne Weekes.??
Speaking this morning at the Ministry’s Speech Competition 2012 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Minister Richard Sealy revealed: "I had the opportunity, only this morning, to approve the vision statement for Barbados’ tourism industry. We had a consultation with stakeholders… [which we] facilitated through a consultant," he said.
The Minister noted that the vision statement was for Barbados "to deliver an unmatched experience that is truly Barbadian, created by warm, welcoming, friendly people, ensuring benefits to the entire nation…it is now in the hands of the young people who are in this room, to take that vision and to build on it, so that we can all benefit …"
Adding that it was young people like those participating in the competition who would take the industry forward, the Tourism Minister observed that the recommendations they made during their speeches would be taken to heart.?? He noted that "the government is working assiduously to benefit from our cultural heritage niche, not only having gained the UNESCO inscription, but we are also formulating partnerships with the Barbadian diaspora overseas to promote the island".
Mr. Sealy told participants that it was important to "let your voice be heard" as it would "inspire our government and tourism stakeholders to review their approaches as they seek to create a tourism industry that is globally competitive".??
The competition, which is now in its 10th year, is part of the Ministry’s Tourism Education Awareness and Me (T.E.A.M.) Programme, which seeks to increase knowledge about the sector among secondary school students. This year’s topic focused on the benefit of establishing linkages between tourism, agriculture and heritage.