Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Shelley Carrington (right) presents the first place prize to Kezia Forde, winner of this year’s Annual Speech Competition and Junior Minister of Tourism 2012-2013. (A. MIller/BGIS)

Engaging the views of young people about the tourism industry is a critical part of increasing sensitisation of the group.

This was stated by Permanent Secretary with the Ministry of Tourism, Shelley Carrington, as she delivered remarks at the Annual Speech Competition, held last Friday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Addressing an audience of students, teachers and tourism stakeholders, Ms. Carrington revealed that the Ministry was "extremely pleased with the growth of the Speech Competition.?? We are also happy with the continued interest of our young people who show a willingness to come together and discuss issues which are of relevance to our tourism industry."

Speaking directly about the themes featured in this year’s event, the Permanent Secretary suggested that the areas of sports tourism and the use of social media would prove essential to the sector’s growth.

"Sports tourism is one of the industry’s fastest growing segments…Our island has the legacy of hosting a number of world class sports events over the last 10 years.?? These events have included the 2006 PGA World Golf Championships, the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup Finals and the 2010 Fireball World Sailing Championships…

"Major world class sports events are important tourist attractions that can bring long lasting benefits to a host city, In terms of infrastructural improvements, increased visitor arrivals and expenditure.?? They also provide an opportunity for the host country to showcase its attractions to a captive audience worldwide, as a result of these events being televised or streamed on the internet," she stressed.?? The official added that, having received technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop a sports tourism strategy, the Ministry was currently examining its implementation component in hopes of maximising the benefits of the niche.

Noting that social media was now considered a standard means of reaching a mass audience, Ms. Carrington said that "This trend has not been lost on the global hospitality industry… It is a medium which the Barbados Tourism Authority, responsible for marketing our tourism product, will continue to exploit to its fullest."

The winner of the Annual Tourism Speech Competition is awarded the title of Junior Minister of Tourism, with Kezia Forde of Combermere School named Junior Minister for 2012-2013.


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