Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, posing with the winners of the 2010 Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Children’s Environmental Poster Competition. (J.??Hall/BGIS)????

Youth are aware of the importance of environmental issues to the tourism industry.

This was the key message sent to students, teachers and parents today when Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, addressed a presentation ceremony in honour of winners of the 2010 Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Children’s Environmental Poster Competition, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The 2010 FCCA Poster competition had required students to depict at least three ways in which their destination could make a difference in preserving the environment. And, the Minister pointed out that as a nation dependent on tourism, Barbados had an obligation to recognise the potential of this global phenomenon to affect the industry.

While urging the youth to strive to increase the awareness levels among their peers, customers and visitors, he stressed the significance of the topic. ??Mr. Sealy said one such topical issue was that of global climate change and noted its effects were being felt worldwide. He stated: "Scientists have been predicting greater hurricane intensity and frequency, which will impact islands such as those in the Caribbean region in many ways.

??"There is also the issue of sea level rise, which would increase the vulnerability of tourism facilities in coastal areas (beaches, marinas, cruise ship piers, and tourist accommodations, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); changing rainfall patterns which can lead to reduced water supply; and an increase in sea surface temperatures which can cause coral reef bleaching and mortality."

Mr. Sealy further commended the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), noting that it was committed to promoting awareness among Caribbean students of the importance of protecting the environment. He indicated: "Their interest in the protection and preservation of the environment is demonstrated through their sponsorship of annual poster and essay competitions designed to attract young people throughout the Caribbean.

"These competitions provide participants with the opportunity to engage in pertinent research, thereby widening their knowledge and making them more cognisant of tourism in general and of tourism environmental matters."

While congratulating the students on their performance, Minister Sealy told them that winning at the regional level sends messages that the youth in Barbados are aware of the importance of the environment to the tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Tourism Development Officer, Marsha Armstrong, in her review, said 65 posters had been entered in the competition from 25 schools, up from 15 in 2009. She said over the years there had been "a good response from the students and their art teachers" who have always been supported by the Ministry in accessing its library resources.

In the local leg of the contest, 11-year-old Daniel Lashley of Harrison College placed first in the Junior Division, while 15-year-old Anisah Wood of The Alexandra School won in the Senior Division.??At the regional level, the poster submitted by Anisah Wood placed third, earning herself and The Alexandra School a cash scholarship of US $1,000.00.

They, along with second and third place winners in each category, were presented with their prizes by the Minister, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

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