Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Three students to vie for Junior Minister of Tourism

Published:Saturday | June 15, 2024 | 12:06 AM
The top-three finalists from the first round of the 2024 Junior Minister of Tourism Competition, held at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in St Ann, on June 11. They are (from left): Taj Melbourne of Manning’s School in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland; Hassan Smit
The top-three finalists from the first round of the 2024 Junior Minister of Tourism Competition, held at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in St Ann, on June 11. They are (from left): Taj Melbourne of Manning’s School in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland; Hassan Smith, from Manning’s School; and Caleader Lewison, from Hampton School in St Elizabeth.

THREE OUTSTANDING students have emerged as the top finalists from the first round of the 2024 Junior Minister of Tourism Competition, held at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in St Ann, on Tuesday, June 11.

After a highly competitive public-speaking event featuring 12 participants from secondary schools across Jamaica, Taj Melbourne of Manning’s School in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, claimed the top spot, followed by Hassan Smith, also from Manning’s School. Caleader Lewison, from Hampton School in St Elizabeth, secured the third position.

The trio will now vie for the coveted title of Jamaica’s Junior Minister of Tourism for 2024 in the upcoming final.

Melbourne said that, despite being nervous initially, he drew confidence from those around him to deliver an impressive presentation on the Blue Economy.

“The blue economy is when a country uses marine resources. So, for example, Jamaica using the Caribbean Sea in their tourism sector, manufacturing and agriculture. It’s basically using what you have around you to make your economy grow,” the Grade 10 student explained.

As for Smith, his presentation was focused on cross-cultural collaboration and how to make Jamaica’s tourism appealing, while being inclusive and diverse. The ninth-grader said he felt ecstatic with his presentation and vowed to work even harder for the finals.

Meanwhile, Lewison spoke about her confidence and public-speaking prowess, which shone through, making her a standout participant in the competition.

“I spoke about cultural collaboration in tourism, which is basically when different cultures come together in order to build and develop the tourism sector to ensure that everybody feels included and welcomed,” the Grade 10 student outlined.

She expressed thanks to the organisers and looks forward to winning the finals and representing Jamaica.

The victor of the finals will be chosen in July and will go on to represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Tourism Organization Regional Youth Congress in the Cayman Islands, from September 4 to 6.

Manager of the Tourism Information Centre, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Lucretia Green, indicated that the event is organised by the JTB and targets students that are a part of the Tourism Action Club in schools.

She lauded the students’ performances, as well as praised the staff advisors who invested time in helping the students to prepare.

“From here on, we will have a workshop for the top-three students in public speaking, etiquette, getting them more information about tourism in Jamaica and specifically on the topics that they’re doing,” Green said.

“Of course, we’re going to top that off with them going on excursions to match the topics they are doing, so that they’re very familiar with, not just the knowledge of it, but the experience,” she added.

Sandals Regional Public Relations Manager Lyndsay Isaacs also lauded the competition’s success, noting the significant increase in participation from schools, compared to the previous year, which had only four student participants.

She said tourism is the “backbone of our country” and encouraged more schools to get involved next year.

“The tourism dollar goes a long way, and it’s really critical and important for everyone to know the value of it,” Isaacs emphasised.