Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 26, 2016 (SKNIS): Speaking at this year’s local Youth Tourism Congress held at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Auditorium, Carlene Henry-Morton, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, made mention of the initiatives that are underway to educate and empower youth in tourism.
Mrs. Henry-Morton referenced the St. Kitts Tourism Sector Strategic and Action Plan 2014 – 2019, where it reveals that an increasing number of over 6000 citizens are currently employed directly in and rely on the tourism industry to sustainably support their livelihoods.
She said that the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) reported that last year the Caribbean welcomed a record of 26. 3 million tourists who contributed a record of $29.2 billion to the various economies.
“Many of these tourists visited St. Kitts and Nevis and this year we are on track to welcome our 1 millionth cruise visitor by the ending of June,” said the Permanent Secretary, who added that even though it is a cause for celebration, “we cannot take these successes for granted or become complacent.”
Mrs. Henry-Morton stated that at the ministry of tourism, “we recognise that our youth are critical to a sustainable, vibrant, dynamic tourism industry and it continues to endorse and participate in a number of programmes that are youth focused.”
“These include the recently launched Tourism Education Awareness Programme in three pilot schools, one secondary and two primary, starting in September 2016,” she said. “Similarly they are fine-tuning plans of introducing the NETTE (Network of Excellence for Tourism Training and Education), which will see the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) partnering with the eight other OECS territories to deliver a world class training programme designed to supply a cadre of competent professionals, who are equipped to provide the high quality and diversified service demanded by an evolving tourism product.”
The Permanent Secretary said that all these initiatives and more are “a part of the government’s pro-people approach to tourism sector development and are intended to translate into youth inclusion and capacity building, entrepreneurship and employment,” said Mrs. Henry-Morton.
Addressing the students at the May 26 event, she said that they will be “empowered and equipped to deliver a quality, authentic, and uniquely Kittitian experience that will add value and differentiate us from other destinations. Indeed, tourism offers scope for rejuvenating and stimulating other sectors of the economy through linkages and for empowering our citizens of all ages.”