Jamaican student wins CTO Youth Congress

Published: Friday | October 12, 2012 Comments 0
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Youth Congress winner, Jamaican student O'Brian Lewis (second right), is flanked by (from left) outgoing chairman of the CTO, Senator Ricky Skerritt; Jamaica's Director General of Tourism, Carrole Guntley, and Shauna Myers-Housen of the Jamaica Tourist Board in St Kitts on Wednesday. - Contributed
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Youth Congress winner, Jamaican student O'Brian Lewis (second right), is flanked by (from left) outgoing chairman of the CTO, Senator Ricky Skerritt; Jamaica's Director General of Tourism, Carrole Guntley, and Shauna Myers-Housen of the Jamaica Tourist Board in St Kitts on Wednesday. - Contributed

Frigate, St Kitts:

A Jamaican student has outpaced 13 other Caribbean nationals to emerge winner at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's (CTO) Tourism Youth Congress.

The confident 16-year-old from Oberlin High School, O'Brian Lewis, convincingly mimicked the role of Jamaica's junior tourism minister, debating his counterparts at a mock CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism in St Kitts on Wednesday.

In second position was Christopher Morgan of Harrison College in Barbados, with Kirano Jivani of Learning Unlimited Preparatory School in St Maarten and Arean Louis of Marjorie Basden High School in the Turks and Caicos Islands tied for third.

It was Lewis' prowess and knowledge of sports tourism, coming out of his proposal of a sports museum, that set him apart from his opponents.

He said the sports museum would honour the country's sporting heroes.

In sync with pm's vision

The proposal from the young 'junior tourism minister' is in sync with the legacy that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says she wants to be remembered for when she demits office. Simpson Miller is behind the setting up of Jamaica's first sports museum in Kingston.

"Imagine entering a black and green building where, at the entrance, you are greeted by cool reggae music. To the right, you see Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce; to your left, you find cricketers Courtney Walsh or Chris Gayle," Lewis said of his proposed museum.

This sports museum, Lewis argued, would not only stand out as an emblem of Jamaica's rich sporting culture, but would be interactive, colourful and informative, "giving our tourism image a huge boost that will cause growth in all the sectors".

Lewis was also proposing that major emphasis be placed on the development and marketing of events around the country's sporting activities.

Expand champs

He is recommending that there be an expansion of the Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships to include participatory events such as fishing or domino tournaments for the days, while filling the nights after the games with the dynamism of the rich Jamaican food and entertainment.

"Currently, our Jamaican boys and girls' championships for high school students attracts many visitors to the capital of Kingston, including a significant convoy of journalists eager to watch the emerging talent of our Jamaican athletes," he argued.

His opponents, an exceptional group of students from CTO member countries, also presented a number of exciting ideas related to sports tourism, social media and celebrity endorsements.

Among the recommendations were an annual nature islands games to attract visitors to Dominica and a high-level tennis academy in Antigua.

This year's Youth Congress was held at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and was attended by ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, senior tourism officials and 350 high school and tertiary students from the islands of St Kitts and Nevis. It was chaired by last year's winner, Kitwanie Carbon of Dominica.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com

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