MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – The highly anticipated Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) 2023 Youth Forum has been hailed as a “major success”. The event saw strong support from hundreds of students and teachers from across the island. Over 300 Tourism Action Club (TAC) members attended the event. It was held on World Tourism Day (WTD) – September 27, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The forum forms part of a series of activities planned by the Ministry of Tourism, its public bodies and tourism partners. Tourism Awareness Week 2023 ran from September 24 – 30. The week is being observed under the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) theme for World Tourism Day – “Tourism and Green Investments”. The day seeks to underscore the need to invest in people, planet and prosperity.
Tourism Action Clubs
The event saw participation from members of some 22 Tourism Action Clubs from schools in resort areas. As a result, it provided an opportunity for students and their teachers to gain a deeper understanding of various aspects of the industry.
The Excelsior Tourism Action Club was the first to be formed in 1995. Vice President, Yeshima Thompson said the Youth Forum allowed participants to learn about areas of tourism that they weren’t aware of before. “It gave them very good information and opened their eyes to different opportunities and possibilities in the tourism sector,” she expressed.
TAW 2023 Feedback
An enthusiastic Kishnel Miller of Meadowbrook High School found the Youth Forum engaging, stressing that: “It was a great experience.”
Kaola Waysom, a CAPE student with a keen interest in tourism said: “I really love this, honestly. I think it’s good for the youth, to educate them about tourism and the future, and how to be sustainable and to educate them about the way forward in green tourism.”
Meanwhile, reigning Junior Minister of Tourism Deja Bremmer said: “most of the presenters here, they are quite young, that is admirable, and there’s a lot that the student can get.”
When quizzed about her new role, she said: “It means a lot.” She argued that: “There are many young persons out there who are very passionate about tourism and want to be involved and I’m grateful that I got to be the Junior Minister of Tourism for Jamaica.” She said this made her a tourism youth representative, which gives young people a voice “and I want to serve as an inspiration for other youths.”
Engaging the Youth
Commenting on the Youth Forum, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith noted that: “It’s very, very important that the youth are a part of what we do in tourism because the youth represent the future of tourism and so Tourism Awareness Week, which incorporates World Tourism Day, is an appropriate time to get them to be a part of tourism activities; to get exposure, to have discussions. It’s a learning environment for them and so it’s very good to have so many schools here today.”
Challenges and Opportunities
Director of Tourism, Donovan White said Tourism Awareness Week was a time of reflection. “It is a time to look at the sector with a view to addressing any existing challenges and improving on what we are doing.” He added: “We are proud of all that we have achieved that increases the love for destination Jamaica across the world.”
The various activities in the Youth Forum were topped off with a crowd-pleasing performance by Ashe performers. Plus, followed earlier captivating presentations by students of Dunoon Park and Jose Marti Technical High Schools.
Tourism Awareness Week 2023 to Focus on Tourism and Green Investments