Engagement with the youth has been identified as a strategic priority to sustain this island’s tourism industry.
This is according to Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA), Marsha Alleyne, who was speaking at a prize-giving ceremony for winners of the 2018 Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Children’s Essay and Poster Competitions.
She said such competitions were critical to furthering the education of youngsters because students were given the opportunity to research Barbados as a tourism destination and tackle real-world tourism problems.
Mrs. Alleyne stated that the Ministry of Tourism recognizes that in order to deepen the awareness of the developmental and cultural value that tourism can bring, greater youth engagement was necessary.
“The BTPA endeavours to ensure that the tourism industry is an inclusive one, and therefore engaging our youth who will become our future leaders, is absolutely critical. We recognize that in order to ensure that the industry is sustained, we have to put an emphasis on developing our youth at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
“This will be achieved by exploring ways of getting the dynamics of tourism into the formal primary and secondary schooling process, so that our students can discuss and understand the essence of issues such as sustainable tourism development, climate resilient construction, the economic value of community tourism development, and the ways in which development and export of new skills can be achieved via tourism,” Mrs. Alleyne said.
The BTPA official added that competitions, such as the CCA’s Essay and Poster contests, went beyond prizes. She said they provided insight into the views of Caribbean youth and allowed them to contribute tangibly to tourism.
“The youth perspective is one which may sometimes be overlooked, but we believe that it is an invaluable one and therefore we must place more emphasis and focus on educating and training our most valuable commodity, the youth of our nation,” Mrs. Alleyne stated.
A total of 65 essays were submitted, while 13 posters were judged. Students in the 2018 FCCA essay competition were required to submit a 500-word essay on the topic “What cultural aspect of my country should cruise passengers experience?”
Kya Knight of Deighton Griffith School won the senior division of the essay competition at the national and regional levels. Second and third place in the local competition went to Krisan Ward and Kyiah Clarke-Carrington of Christ Church Foundation School, respectively.
In the junior division, Ariya Broomes of St. Paul’s Primary School came first; second place went to Destiny Best of Deighton Griffith School, and Noel Allder of St. Paul’s Primary School came third.
The theme of the 2018 FCCA environmental poster competition was “Weathering the Storm: Disaster Preparation for my Destination”.
First place went to Mahealia Gibbs of the Lester Vaughan School; Xaundre Baptiste of St. Stephen’s Primary came second, while Isla Domenge of Providence Elementary School placed third.
Jehnae Wood of Queen’s College took first placed in the senior division while second and third went to Shereece Hunte of Lester Vaughan School and Maegan McDonald of Harrison College respectively.