The 24 participants in this year???s Ministry of Tourism???s Annual Speech competition now have a better idea of what to expect when the upcoming event is held next month.

According to Tourism Development Officer, Marsha Armstrong, the orientation session held in the Ministry???s conference room yesterday, was designed to sensitise the students about the industry and the topics to be discussed during the competition. There was also a training session on leadership by Personal and Leadership Consultant, Toney Olton.

Ms. Armstrong said this year???s competition attracted participants from 16 secondary schools ??? an increase over previous years, and was pleased that ???young people are taking interest in the industry???.

The Tourism Development Officer said students will deliver presentations on accessible tourism and customer service. ???Accessible tourism is a very important aspect as it relates to assisting persons with disabilities to enjoy our tourism product. We also want to hear the views of young people on customer service and why it is important for Barbadians to have a high level of quality customer service as it relates to the industry,??? Ms. Armstrong added.

Meanwhile, the current Junior Minister of Tourism, Kezia Forde, urged both present and future participants of the competition to learn as much as possible about the industry.

???It is very beneficial when you come into the competition to learn as much as you can and become your own tourism ambassador for Barbados. If everybody pitches in and helps out, as I like to say, when a visitor comes to the island they do not ask who you are, ???if you work in tourism, [or] if you have studied tourism???they just ask you because they see you???and you are a representative of Barbados. When they [tourists] see you they want to know that you can help them and that you understand your country,??? she emphasised.

Leadership Consultant Mr. Olton gave the participants some pointers about effective communication, the art of delivering an effective presentation, and responding to ???spur of the moment questions???. This year???s Annual Speech competition will be held on Monday, March 10.

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