Bahamian student wins CTO Youth Congress in Barbados
Bahamas Jr. Minister of Tourism Gabrielle Josephs emerged winner of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Tourism Youth Congress in Barbados last Friday, becoming the first Bahamian to win the competition.
Josephs, a student of Mary Star of the Sea in Freeport, Grand Bahama, outperformed 14 students from the region to claim the title of Caribbean Jr. Minister of Tourism.
“I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected out of all of the outstanding students in the region. I now represent, not only The Bahamas, but the entire Caribbean as the voice of the youth on tourism matters. I take this new responsibility very seriously,” Josephs said.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Obie Wilchcombe congratulated the Grand Bahama student who he said is destined for greatness.
“Gabrielle continues to represent The Bahamas well and make us proud. I congratulate him for another outstanding performance and I am certain that many more Bahamian students will follow in his footsteps. He has indeed paved the way for young Bahamians wishing to make an impact on the tourism industry. We look forward to great things from him,” Wilchcombe said.
Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu was also impressed by Joseph’s performance.
“This is the third time that I’ve seen Gabrielle in action, and he is a natural. We were already proud to call him our Jr. Minister of Tourism, and now we are proud to say that our Bahamian student is the Jr. Minister of the entire region. This is truly a remarkable accomplishment,” Jibrilu added.
Josephs spent months preparing for his topic “Flow Experiences” with the help of Samantha Cartwright, Coordinator of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s Jr. Minister of Tourism program.
He presented an outstanding idea for creating flow experiences for visitors to The Bahamas that would bring about memorable encounters – The Islands of The Bahamas Theme Park, which would allow visitors to emerge themselves in Bahamian culture and experiences of each island.
“Hard work and dedication truly pays off in the end. We put the work into preparing for this competition and we came out victorious. I reminded Gabrielle that he is representing not only himself, but also The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and he performed for his country,” Cartwright said.
In addition to their chosen topic, the students were also given a mystery question that aimed to test the students in three core areas: research skills, expressing themselves clearly and thinking on their feet.
Josephs passed the test with flying colours, blowing the judges away with his response to the question “Choose a celebrity from the Caribbean and explain how he/she could be used to promote the region.” He had just one minute to formulate his answer.
Joseph’s win came just one day after Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe was elected chairman of CTO and Director General Joy Jibrilu was named chairman of the CTO Board of Governors.
Along with the title, Josephs also received several prizes from CTO including a round trip ticket for two on Caribbean Airlines.
The Youth Congress is structured to mirror a CTO Board of Directors’ Meeting with an agenda and topics on salient tourism issues.