Barbados’ youth will once again ???step up to the plate’ – and the podium – to share their views on an essential industry, when the Ministry of Tourism hosts its Speak-Off Competition in January.

Tourism Development Officer, Marsha Armstrong, explained that there was a need for young people to understand the industry and its purpose.?? She revealed that the competition, part of the Ministry’s Tourism Education Awareness and Me Programme, provided a valuable forum for young people.

"We need to hear the views of young people in this country, especially with regard to this island’s leading industry.?? It’s an opportunity for them to learn more about the product and the various niche markets that Barbados offers to the wider world.?? It also offers the opportunity for us within the Ministry to hear fresh, new ideas that will assist in developing tourism for the future.?? It’s a competition where tourism stakeholders are present to hear these views and, so, participants should rest assured that their suggestions are taken seriously," Ms. Armstrong noted.

Both public and private institutions have been encouraged to nominate two representatives, between the ages of 14 and 17, to debate this year’s topic, agro-tourism and cultural heritage tourism.?? Students will discuss the theme and its connection to the sector, with an additional "mystery topic" to be presented to participants on competition day.

There will also be preparatory activities for the students prior to the Speak-Off, including an introduction to tourism study tour, which will feature visits to local attractions that highlight elements related to agro-tourism.

The winner will be designated Junior Minister of Tourism 2011/2012, a role which will see the student complete an internship within the industry and participate in various tourism-related activities.

The deadline for submission of names for the Speak-Off Competition is Friday, December 16.?? For additional information, persons may contact Jacqueline Pollard or Marsha Armstrong at 430-7500.


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