Tourism officials in the region are being urged to give youth “a permanent seat at the table” if they want their tourism product to remain viable.
This suggestion has come from 22-year-old parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism in the Bahamas Travis Robinson.
Addressing the Caribbean Students Colloquium during Caribbean Week on Wednesday, Robinson said such a programme was critical for the youth to share their ideas to “take tourism to the next level”.
“The youth represent progression and vision for various countries – a vision that can only be manifested through fresh young minds and innovative ideas. It is through these young eyes that we see the vision for the future of the tourism industry,” said Robinson, who was his country’s junior minister of tourism in 2013.
“As leaders in the industry, we must all take the next step in providing a permanent seat at the table for our youth, respecting their voices, valuing their opinions and providing the support necessary to transform their brilliant ideas into reality,” he said.
Acknowledging that the region was heavily dependent on the tourism industry, Robinson said given that young people more easily embrace diversity, were technologically savvy
and environmentally conscious, they should be given the opportunity to play a greater role in growing and sustaining the industry.
“It is because of these attributes that they are not only the future but the present of the tourism industry. To the ministers, director generals and commissioners, let us release the young people and allow them to do what we believe they can do. Encourage them . . . . Allow them to soar and take tourism to the next level,” said Robinson.
During the highly anticipated and closely contested colloquium, four teams went up against each other.
The New York-based Monroe College was the winner; second place went to the University of Bahamas; the Turks and Caicos Community College was third; while first-timers University College of the Cayman Islands came fourth.