THE youth voice is crucial to expanding Tobago’s tourism product, says Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Megan Morrison.
Morrison was speaking during the 2022 edition of the Tourism Youth Congress held at the Anne Mitchell-Gift Auditorium of the Scarborough Library on Friday. It was the first congress since 2019 owing to the covid19 pandemic.
The overarching aim of the event, she said is to introduce the students to the critical role tourism plays in the growth and development of the society as well as to further expose students to meaningful discussions.
“I am indeed heartened by the support and participation from secondary schools across the island,” Morrison said.
She said the new PDP administration has recognised that the inclusion of communities and youths are critical to advancing the island’s tourism product.
“This Tourism Youth Congress for our secondary school students along with our primary schools’ Tourism Awareness Quiz, Tourism Summer Youth Camp and our annual Youth Symposium have all become the division’s flagship initiatives established to educate our youths on the importance of the island’s tourism industry.”
She urged the participants to view this activity as the start of their contributions to national, regional and global issues.
Programme co-ordinator Sandra Orr-Toney said she was extremely happy to host the programme within a physical setting. She said the youth congress is one of the division’s highly anticipated youth initiatives.
“A major highlight of this programme is that it allows for the selection of a new junior secretary of tourism. This title will be held for one year.”
She said that tourism “is an opportunity for economic growth and sustainable development. The youths are the future, and it is our duty as practitioners, stakeholders, teachers – it is our duty to ensure that there is an industry for future generations. We in Tobago have a beautiful model, we have a lovely model where we nurture them from primary schools, and we take them right up to tertiary.”
To date, there have been two junior secretaries – Jahmone Madden and Kayleigh Lewis
Lewis said being junior secretary is more than a title.
“You find the actual meaning of the title when you see young persons interested in tourism or when you look at the Facebook comment section and you see young persons making very useful suggestions to help improve our tourism sector.”
To the incoming secretary, she said: “Make your tenure worthwhile, absorb all the experience, take advantage of every opportunity and don’t forget that your main goal is to see a Tobago where tourism is appreciated by the youth – from preschool to the tertiary level.”