Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 15, 2016 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Nevis Ministry of Tourism, held a Tourism Education Planning Meeting specifically for principals of the three pilot schools which will be implementing the Tourism Education and Awareness Programme in September, 2016.
This was a follow-up meeting to a Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) facilitated workshop for teachers of the three pilot schools: Basseterre High, Dr. William Connor and the Sandy Point Primary School.
The workshop aimed at providing training and sensitization for education officials on exactly what tourism is, and how and what it contributes to lives and livelihoods individually and collectively here in St. Kitts. Also discussed were the sustainable methods and practices the country can employ as a people and as a destination to ensure that the country is prepared to manage this industry and maximize the benefits to be derived from it. Ways to share all of the information with students and communities so they are properly informed to meet the necessary job and career choices and decisions and adopt the necessary attitudes that will safeguard and preserve the industry was also discussed.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Carlene Henry-Morton, stated that the ministry “wholeheartedly endorses and is very excited about this programme,” adding that “We long to see it introduced in all of our schools sooner rather than later.”
“We are doing all in our power now to meaningfully engage our young men and women, our students and equip them to take the reins to understand the inner workings of this very important industry that is so entrenched and for the foreseeable future will continue to be entrenched in our way of life,” said the permanent secretary. “Our youth are critical to a sustainable, vibrant, dynamic tourism industry and that is exactly what the tourism education awareness programme is about.”
Mrs. Henry-Morton said that it is a people centred approach to tourism sector development and expansion and advocates an agenda of inclusion and capacity building. “As outlined in the project proposal, we agreed that tourism is the main pillar of socioeconomic development for the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Debbie Isaac, Senior Education Officer, stated that since the closing of the sugar industry in July 2005, the government has relied increasingly on tourism to stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life of its citizens.
“As a result, the Ministry of Tourism has taken this opportunity to create a greater awareness of this industry and its importance in the development of our economy for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Mrs. Isaac. “The Ministry of Education strongly supports this initiative and would hope not only the three schools that are piloting the project be exposed to it but all our schools should be able to come on board.”
She added that there are a number of misconceptions of the tourism industry including that tourists have to be of a certain colour and that all tourists are wealthy. The Senior Education Officer said that formal education on tourism’s impact on society would serve to dismantle some of the inaccurate concepts and ideas.
“That is why tourism education is very important as we advance in the future.”
She congratulated the visionaries of the project and said that it is hoped that it will lead to greater successes in the Ministry of Tourism in the future.