“Use your influence to make a positive difference.”
So said, THA Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips on Friday as she addressed the third annual Youth Tourism Symposium, hosted by the division in commemoration of Caribbean Tourism Month at the Anne Mitchell-Gift Auditorium of the Scarborough Library Facility.
The Secretary said: “You, the youths in our midst are the influencers and game changers of today and tomorrow. Embrace it for the advancement of your island and your future, use your influence to make a positive difference.”
The eight secondary schools with tourism youth clubs were well represented as well as students from the Technical Vocational Centre for Persons with Disabilities.
The overarching aim of the activity, according to Stewart-Phillips is to introduce the future leaders to the critical role that tourism plays in the growth and development of society and to further motivate the upcoming generation to become actively involved in the tourism sector.
“I am indeed heartened that we are once again able to garner a high level of support and participation from the Secondary schools on the island of Tobago, our stakeholders and professionals within the field.”
The Secretary delved into the theme, Strengthening our tourism youth platform through education, awareness and social initiatives.
“We at the division have recognised that the inclusion and involvement of our communities and our youth are critical as we seek to advance our tourism product on the island of Tobago.
“Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification globally. The Tobago House of Assembly has observed these international trends and has identified tourism as a potential key industry earner that, once if properly developed can further drive the island’s economy,” she said.
Stewart-Phillips highlighted that annual programmes such as the tourism essay competition, primary schools quiz, youth congress and youth symposium have been introduced to further ensure that the industry’s future is secured.
“You, the youth in our midst, are the influencers and game changers of today and tomorrow: Embrace it and use it for the advancement of your island and your future. Use your influence to make a positive difference.” she urged.
She further encouraged the students who are not already part of their school’s tourism youth clubs to join as soon as possible.
“I can assure you that you are missing out on an exciting opportunity to be involved in creating innovative initiatives to enhance destination Tobago. Your opinions are important to us and we welcome them.”
The event also included a humanitarian component with the division and the tourism youth clubs partnering with the Yosabelle Foundation to provide two wheelchairs for eight-year-old differently abled twins, Kianne and Kian Jack of Bloody Bay.
The tourism division’s executive assistant, Sandra Orr, was overwhelmed by the support.
“We think that it’s a really good initiative to have the students educated on the economic significance of tourism and I…based upon the response that I’ve been getting, I would say that something is happening, somebody is listening…Tourism is our bread and butter and we need students and young people to look at having viable careers in tourism, and those are the objectives of this youth tourism initiative,” Orr said