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· Honourable Paul Muschett, Custos Rotolorum for the parish of Trelawny
· Your Worship Councillor Colin Gager, Mayor of Falmouth
· Members of the Board and staff of the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd
· Clive Blair Superintendent of police I/C Trelawny
· Our hosts – The Jamaica Library Service
· Principals, Teachers and students
· Members of our Tourism Family
· Members of the Fi Wi Falmouth Committee
· Members of the media
· Ladies and gentlemen
· I am pleased to be here with you this morning to share in this “Fi Wi Falmouth” Tourism Quiz Finals and Awards presentation. It was indeed an exciting final and demonstrated the preparation and hard work put in by both the teams and your coaches. It is undoubtedly an important activity and as you may know, it is one of the prongs of a public Education Programme implemented by the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd. for this historic town of Falmouth as a means of improving the visitor experience and destination assurance.
· Allow me to heartily congratulate our runner up school …………………………………….and our winner…………………………………… Well done, you have made yourselves, your school community and all of us very proud. I noted your enthusiasm and teamwork and anticipate that you will be rewarded for your efforts later today.
· I want to talk with you about three things. 1. The importance of the knowledge and skills you have acquired in your preparation for and participation in this competition. 2. How you in your own small way can contribute to the development of this vital tourism industry and 3. Bring to your attention although I’m sure you are now well aware of, the linkages that exist between tourism and several other sectors of the society.
· Did you know that over one billion tourists pack their bags and travel the world over, every year? And that Jamaica is targeting 5 million of them and earnings of 5 billion US dollars in five years? Yes the Ministry of Tourism is working very hard to make this a reality.
· Now the knowledge and the skills that you have honed through this competition are attributes you should consider keeping for life. Knowledge of your birth parish or parish of residence, of the rich history that is Trelawny’s. I’m sure you all knew beforehand that the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt is from your parish but I’m also sure that you discovered many other amazing facts along the way. Such as the Georgian Architecture, the giant swallow tail butterfly which is the world’s second largest butterfly and which can be found in the cockpit country, the Tambu folk form which is from Wakefield and special to Trelawny. The fact that Falmouth had running water before the big New York City and the importance of the Martha Brae River then and now and so much more which must give you a sense of pride and joy being a part of this parish.
· In examining the skills you have developed in your preparation for the Fi Wi Falmouth Tourism Quiz, there is teamwork. You should have discovered like Ken Blanchard said that “None of us is as smart as all of us.” We recognise that we must support each other as we work towards a common goal. Because we have different strengths and weaknesses we through this quiz can better understand that we have to rely on each other and as we rely on each other we must each commit to do our part.
· I am sure you have also refined the skill of critical thinking through our scenario questions in customer service and tourism awareness which forced you to think of the most appropriate action to take in any given situation while teaching you to be culturally sensitive. I am sure there are others like time management and how to study.
· You may ask, how can I in my small corner, contribute to this big industry called tourism? Well you can wear your usual beautiful smiles which display the warmth and hospitality of our people. You can contribute by being friendly and welcoming to all our visitors whether they are local or foreign. You can say good morning, give a friendly greeting any time of day. You can know your town, your product, places of interest, attractions, history, learn about our icons so that if asked you can give an informed and accurate answer and be of service. You can be vigilant in taking care of our environment and encouraging the adults to do likewise. This means not throwing garbage through the windows, not littering your school yard or community, or dumping refuse in our rivers and sea. When you get to high school, which I know will be by September for some of you, become a part of the tourism action club in your school and if there’s none ask your principal to contact the Jamaica Tourist Board to get help in setting up one. Become an advocate or an ambassador and tell your friends all the good things you have learned through this competition. Help them to understand the significance of our history and to value our heritage sites and the things that make us Jamaican.
· I do not think it’s too early to start putting yourself in the tourism picture. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Cruise Ship Captain, a Pilot or Airline Stewardess, Environmentalist, Tour Operator, Chef, Mixologist, Hotelier, Villa Owner, Engineer, Hotel or Food and Beverage Manager, an Accountant, Travel agent, Teacher, a Massage Therapist like Ms. Simone Folkes from Sandals Royal Plantation who just recently won the Tourism Service Excellence Award in the individual category. Somewhere down the road you could be one of these tourism workers that will be providing services to our visitors. Stop for a moment and put yourself in the picture, imagine the possibilities. There are a range of careers in the sector and you may just want to consider one of them.
· Not only does this quiz expose you to the different careers that are available in the sector but it introduces you to the linkages that exist with the industry. Linkages with sectors such as agriculture where you better understand how the farmer produces his crop for the local and tourism market but even more so he/she has the opportunity to add value through manufacturing. The possibility for processing and packaging complimentary goods is endless. From canned fruits and vegetables to furniture, souvenirs and a range of services from banking to insurance. As you know the tourism dollar goes round and around and helps to secure our economy, touching the lives of thousands of people who make a living from the industry.
· So now you know the importance of the knowledge and skills you have polished in this competition, you have an insight in how you can contribute and you are even more aware of the linkages and how tourism touches lives, I hope you will be empowered to make a difference.
Again I congratulate you all, for you are all winners in your own right. I thank the organizations that have provided exciting prizes which will allow you to sample the tourism product and the team at TPDCo which has spearheaded this initiative. I look forward to the competition being staged on a national scale so that we can have wider involvement of young sparks like you, across Jamaica. Thank you.