Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 01, 2016 (SKNIS): During his 2016 Tourism Awareness Month address, Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant, said that his ministry has decidedly embarked on a people-centred approach to the tourism sector with emphasis on service training and education.

Minister Grant stated that the strategic approach places emphasis on community outreach, paying particular attention to grassroots leadership, and also targets learning institutions where the future labour force can be meaningfully engaged.

“Our Youth are critical to a sustainable, vibrant, dynamic tourism industry, so we continue to endorse and participate in a number of programmes that are youth-focused,” said Minister Grant, mentioning the recently launched Tourism Education Awareness programme, being piloted in four of our learning institutions. These include the Dr. William Connor and Sandy Point Primary Schools, the Basseterre High School and the Advanced Vocational Education Centre (AVEC).

“Officers from the Ministry of Tourism are working with teachers to roll out the programme,” said the Minister. “At the Dr. William Connor Primary School, a Tourism Club has recently been formed. These students will benefit from a tour of our tourism plant in preparation for a composition on their experience.”

The minister stated that the Network of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Training and Education (NETHTE) is currently being fine-tuned. It 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.”

“All of these initiatives and more are part of government’s pro-people approach to tourism sector development, and are intended to translate into youth inclusion and capacity building, entrepreneurship and employment, so our citizens are empowered and equipped to deliver a quality, authentic and uniquely Kittitian experience, that will add value and differentiate us from other destinations,” said Minister Grant.

Tourism Awareness Month is celebrated from November 01-30, 2016, under the theme “Tourism Education: Connectivity for Sustainability”