December 14, 2007
The Ministry of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on Wednesday December 12, 2007, hosted its second annual Tourism Awards Luncheon at the Occasions. The luncheon was held to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Nevisian students and to recognize those who participated in the annual tourism awareness contests coordinated by the Ministry throughout the year.
Premier and Minister of Tourism the Hon. Joseph Parry congratulated the over 60 students and said it was meaningful to spend time with the young people of Nevis, to impress upon them the importance of the tourism industry.
“Our brand of tourism is here to stay, it is the leading sector of the economy, it is a means of people obtaining a long term income to support themselves, their families and their ambition. It is a means for the government of Nevis to establish linkages backward and forward to develop this country of Nevis and it is absolutely important that we spend time with the young people of Nevis, inculcating in their minds the importance of tourism, but more so where they could find a niche for themselves in tourism.
“We want you to prepare yourselves so that you can take some if not most of the leading positions in tourism. We have said to investors both local and foreign, you have to look to Nevis first before you look abroad for people to employ. If over 200 persons are leaving school every year and if there are people living in St. Kitts, why is it we are fooling ourselves that we don’t have the people here? Why is it we have to always look abroad? My government is seeking to train school leavers to prepare them for the wide world of work and to make sure that they find their place in the island of Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Parry listed a number of employment opportunities that would become available over the next few years as the island developed the tourism sector which he said was the leading sector of the islands’ economy.
He gave kudos to the staff of the Ministry of Tourism and Education and urged them to continue to create awareness’s through the tourism education programme.
Meantime, featured speaker at the awards luncheon was Learning Manager at the Four Seasons Resort Mr. Stevenson Manners, who spoke to career opportunities in the Nevis tourism industry. Mr. Manners said he had listened to the Premier’s impressive plans for tourism development for the island and was of the view that Nevis would frog-leap into the forefront of Caribbean tourism as the opportunities would be endless. He implored the students to continue to strive for excellence so that they could maximise the opportunities that would arise.
He pointed out that under the Nevis Reformation Party led-Administration’s approach to tertiary education was the most proactive in the islands history. He joined Premier Parry in imploring the students to prepare themselves to assume positions in the hospitality industry that would inevitably arise.
Also addressing the students was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mr. Joseph Wiltshire. He told the students they had done themselves proud and had ensured that Nevis was given pride of place in the international arena.
The Education official exhorted the students to continue to participate in wholesome activities, which would provide avenues for them to display their talents, creativity and skills and that they should remain focused and continue to be a beacon on which your peers too could set their course.
Each year the Ministry of Tourism co-ordinates regional tourism awareness contests most of which are initiated by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) in collaboration with international industry partners. These contests are opened to students in both primary and secondary schools.
This year Nevisian students participated in the following: Conde Nast Traveller “My aribbean Essay Contest” (for primary schools only). The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Children’s Essay Contest. The FCCA Environmental Poster Contest. National Geographic Youth Photo Contest (secondary schools only). Travel and Leisure Tourism Youth Congress (secondary schools only).
During the ceremony all of the students received medallions for participating in the tourism awareness contests and for their top performances to assist in marketing the islands’ tourism product worldwide.
The ceremony was chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Tyrone O’Flaherty while Tourism Officer Ms. Vanessa Webbe gave an overview of the tourism awareness education programme in the schools. The students displayed their winning art pieces and read their winning essays while Nevis’ Junior Minister of Tourism Miss Ashlee Parris who represented Nevis for the first time at the Travel and Leisure Tourism Youth Congress responded on behalf of the students.
At the end of the ceremony the students were treated to a buffet luncheon in the company of tourism and education officials, teachers, parents, tourism stakeholders and well wishers.