Over one hundred students from secondary and tertiary schools across the island spent Friday morning at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, where they shared their candid views on the future of tourism.

Let’s Talk Tourism – Youth Speak Out, the youth-based element of the Ministry of Tourism’s public consultation on the development of a White Paper for the industry, provided a forum for young people to share their ideas and opinions about a range of issues related to the sector, including environmental, information technology and the role of youth.????

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, observed that this consultation was key to the development of the Paper and the sector as it focused on those who would eventually carry it forward.

?????????????????? "The key issues that have been raised so far as we’ve been trying to develop the White Paper have been very much focused on what the future will be like.?????? Some of these issues would involve, of course, the role of youth in tourism,???? not only from the point of view as future stakeholders but also from the point of view of developing ourselves as a destination that appeals more to the younger demographic…" the Minister commented.??

Mr. Sealy explained that the event provided an opportunity for young persons to let their voices be heard, on an issue that was critical for the island’s and their future.

"This consultation provides an excellent opportunity for you to learn and explore these issues, to discuss them with your colleagues and of course to share your views with us.?? It also, not only gives you an opportunity to improve your understanding, but it also gives us the golden opportunity to hear from you, where we can also learn," the Minister stated.?? He added that increased tourism awareness and interest among young Barbadians was essential for the industry to continue to flourish.

This, along with the development of community tourism, the effective use of information and communication technology, the diversification of the tourism product and environmental stewardship, were the topics put forward to the students for their round table discussions.???? They were allowed to have dialogue in their groups about the challenges relative to these areas and offered their solutions and suggestions in a presentation which followed their deliberations.

The students’ concerns and propositions were many and those who represented their roundtable groups, as well as those who contributed during the open session, were commended for their frank comments.?? Some of the resolutions that were shared included enforcement of dumping laws and recycling bins along tourist-heavy areas, building restrictions on the coast lines, use of social media to promote local attractions and events, increased education within schools for youth to better grasp the role and function of tourism and better application of young persons as a human resource, where students could contribute to the design and maintenance of ??tourist-related websites.

The White Paper for the Development of Tourism in Barbados-Discussion Document can be accessed on the Ministry’s website, http://www.tourism.gov.bb/ . Persons may also share their views on the document and the future of the industry at whitepaper@tourism.gov.bb , until Tuesday, February 15.????


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