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Barbados seeks greater youth engagement in tourism sector

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Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Barbados

Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill delivered a clear message while sharing remarks at the island’s Junior Minister of Tourism and the inaugural Genealogy Competition awards ceremony last week: the nation’s youth must be educated about the importance of tourism so they can participate in the sector’s future success and sustainability.


“As you know for anything in life to evolve and prosper, young people must be actively engaged and involved,” he said, adding that “as tourism recovers the world over from the pandemic, there is a recognition of the importance of youth in tourism, [and] as such, there is a concerted effort to promote youth empowerment, through offering education and trainingas well as access to decent jobs.”


By participating in activities such as the Junior Minister of Tourism competition, young people learn about the industry and have an opportunity to share their ideas for change and development.


This year’s winner, 17-year-old Josiah Grannum of Harrison College, will have the opportunity to be involved in tourism-related activities throughout the year, to be part of Barbados’ delegation attending the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Industry Conference in 2023, and to represent the island at the CTO’s Tourism Youth Congress.


About his participation in the competition, Grannum had this to say: “It was very exciting and the research that I had to do to get into it was very interesting … I would love to see more young people like myself actually interested in tourism and educated about it, so we can know what our part to play is, so that we can participate.”


The Barbados Government Information Service reports that Minister Gooding-Edghill hopes the CTO will develop a mechanism that allows Caribbean ministries of tourism to work with youth to develop an innovation lab focused on expanding innovation in tourism through technology, an area in which youth are very knowledgeable.


The island’s inaugural Genealogy Competition was an opportunity for students to submit a family tree representing both sides of their family accompanied by a summary description and photos where possible.


This past September in the Cayman Islands, J’nae Brathwaite of Tobago won the CTO Tourism Youth Congress competition after a hiatus due to the pandemic.


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