Jada Hope is the 2017 Junior Minister of Tourism.
After two rounds of speeches, the 14-year-old student from The St Michael School emerged victorious at the competition staged by the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTP) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Monday.
The competition was formerly known as the Speech Competition, and having been rebranded this year, Hope presented passionately to an audience comprising students, teachers, parents, tourism stakeholders and members of the public.
It was the presentation on her conceptualized mobile application called We Bimin’ which first highlighted that she was one to look out for. Hope explained that she conducted extensive research on what attracts visitors to the island and used this as a background to build the educational, fun and interactive content for the application.
“I wasn’t planning to enter the competition. I was just going to wait another year because the other participants were older. In all honesty, I wasn’t really expecting it [winning]. I tried to work hard and focus on myself so I could present my best and the fact that I won means a lot to me,” she told the media after winning the competition.
Students were asked to make a three-minute presentation on Sustainable Tourism, Adventure Tourism, or Signature Tourism Products in the first stage, and on a mystery topic in the second stage. The mystery topics included accessibility in tourism, utilizing local produce and crime as a challenge in the industry.
“As we seek to develop a more sustainable and competitive tourism industry, we fully understand that it is imperative that we focus on the development of our future tourism leaders. Today was a perfect demonstration that the future of tourism in Barbados is secure,” said the BTPA’s chief executive officer Dr Kerry Hall.
“The creativity and the innovation of our youth that was on display today at the forum should be highly commended, as well as the sterling deliveries on relevant tourism issues by each of the participants. I was very pleased and proud to watch the youth of Barbados address and find relevant, innovative and workable solutions to tourism issues currently being addressed by the BTPA at a national level. It means that our people are thinking critically and that they have keen insight into topics of heated debate within the tourism industry.”
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy congratulated all participants on a job well done and encouraged more students to participate next year.
“It is an important programme and the BTPA must be saluted. . . .We had keen participation this year and now we must look to build more hype around it and have more public interface with the Junior Minister after the competition. A programme like this can really raise the awareness levels about tourism,” Sealy noted.
Matthew Weatherhead of Harrison College placed second while Rhianna Smith of Deighton Griffith Secondary School was awarded third place. Students from Christ Church Foundation School, Alexandra School, St Ursula’s, The Alleyne School, Coleridge and Parry School, Lester Vaughan School and Springer Memorial School also participated.
Hope will hold the title of Junior Minister of Tourism for one year. During that time, she will join the BTPA in several activities, and represent Barbados at SOTIC 2017 in Grenada at the Regional Tourism Youth Congress. She will also receive a grant of $3,000 for tourism-related studies in the future.