Jamaica News: More than 140 high-school students from western Jamaica were exposed to the importance and impact of local tourism during the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) ‘Tourism Youth Expo and Career Fair 2019’.
The event was held at the Negril Hills Golf Club in Westmoreland on Tuesday, February 26, and falls in line with the Ministry of Tourism’s fifth pillar of tourism growth – Renewal of Human Capital.
The students, from Rusea’s High School, Belmont Academy, Merlene Ottey High School, Petersfield High School, Rhodes Hall High School and Theodora Skills Training Centre, were able to gain information on tourism and its potential for professional advancement.
This was done through exhibitors from tourism entities as well as career presentations and workshops, which allowed students to immerse themselves in the sector and be exposed to a range of career options.
Executive Director of TPDCo, Dr. Andrew Spencer, who delivered the keynote address, said the expo was one of several interventions with the objective of increasing the awareness of the youth.
“They (students) are going to leave here and be clear in their minds about how they can contribute to this growing industry, because we can’t have tourism growing at the rate it is without our people,” Dr. Spencer said.
He outlined that with the local tourism economy expecting five million visitors and earnings of $5 billion over the next two years, the country will require young bright minds to be prepared for the further incoming growth of the sector.
“One of the things that we are doing is a lot training. So, we are just equipping the human capacity in order to receive what we will get,” Dr. Spencer said.
“If we get people to buy into this very valuable industry, then we are sure that is going to be in safe hands for the future. So, we are trying to expose them to careers in the industry today and get them to recognise that tourism is a worthwhile industry,” he added.
Presentations were made on the culinary careers, tour-guiding, health tourism, heritage opportunities in tourism and destination marketing.