Scarborough Secondary's Kayleigh Lewis is the 2019 Tourism Youth Congress Junior Secretary.The 2nd annual debate competition featured eight participants discussing innovative ideas on improving the tourism industry. Lewis will represent Tobago at the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress in October.
Lewis’ winning presentation on Friday, at Scarborough Library, focussed on promoting excellence in Caribbean tourism, through the creation of an app that allows stakeholders to monitor the reviews of its clients.
She said this will include collaboration among all sectors, with the division working towards one goal.
The topics at the congress focused on smart travel experiences for customer travel satisfaction, equipping youths for the changing tourism environment and making excellence a habit in Caribbean tourism.
Representatives from Scarborough Secondary, Bishops High, Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation, Signal Hill Secondary, Roxborough Secondary, Speyside High School, Goodwood and Mason Hall Secondary gave five-minute presentations on their plans.
Speyside High School's Adriel Wheeler said Tobago must create a smart airport to enhance the travel experience.
He said an ultra modern airport utilising latest technology is of paramount importance.
"And while we are at it, can we upgrade our machine readable passport, other countries are doing (it). People, we are behind," he said.
Akila John, of Signal Hill Secondary, placed third. She spoke about the implementation of three strategies to ensure young people are properly equipped to contribute towards growth in the tourism sector. She said this includes providing information through digital media, creating avenues for young entrepreneurs in the tourism industry and providing funding for the construction of small inns.
Addriana Cordner, of Bishops High School, focused on smart travel using ITC, to allow faster border and travel experiences for tourists. Her idea focused on reducing the time to travel to the island using e-services.
“We have to fix home first, because currently at our borders, tourists still have to deal with visa, passports and boarding passes. In order to create a perfect destination tourists want to experience, as a government, we must update our services using smart travel technology.”
She said this will allow tourists all over the world to access services to purchase sea, air and ground transport tickets using the e-service, where they will receive an e-pass that will be scanned upon arrival.
For this to be done, the bus, taxi, ferry and air services must be synchronised and upgraded to become more efficient.
Her plan also includes easy access to information for visitors using Tobago 211 directory services, along with the installation of biometric devices for face recognition and finger scanners to reduce the number of security checks.
She said this will make Tobago more accessible, reliable and secure.
Dereesia Baynes, of Pentecostal Light and Life, said customer service is critical in improving the tourism product. She said institutions can establish an award programme for customer service excellence.
Mason Hall Secondary's Jelani Lewis spoke about the island becoming digitally adept. Christa Hosford of Roxborough stressed the importance of educating young people about Tobago as a tourism hub in the region.
Goodwood Secondary school's Antoinette Lewis called for a tourism education campaign to be implemented in schools.