Changing the face of Tourism
By HADASSAH HALL
At the tender age of 17, her quest is to change the perception of Bahamians towards the service industry. And for the next year she will have the opportunity to do just that as she assumes the role of the country’s Junior Minister of Tourism.
Ryan Albury, a 2005 graduate of St. John’s College is already on the right track. She has strong views on the tourism industry and the positive outlook which some Bahamians have of the nation?s number one sector.
The teenager’s opinion is that Bahamians confuse the service industry with servitude.
I want to change that (perception) Some people think tourism is only all about being a maid, a waitress or a taxi driver. My mother is the Senior Library Assistant at the Eugene Dupuch Library and she (engages in) tourism by assisting the Eugene Dupuch Law School host out-of-town guests when they have conferences. “Isn’t that tourism” Ryan questioned.
“Tourism isn’t about being a servant to others. It is more about promoting your country and determining how best to promote its resources” she said confidently.
While in office, Ryan said she wants to promote the multiplicity of careers within the tourism industry.
As Junior Minister of Tourism, Ryan will represent The Bahamas at the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress this October in the U.S Virgin Islands. At the congress, she will debate with other Junior Ministers of Tourism on issues affecting the industry.
The Congress will discuss a number of topics and make recommendations to CTO?s Board of Directors. In 2004, the then Bahamas Jr. Minister of Tourism, Corain Smith placed first runner-up in the debate.
I feel honored and privileged because as a young person, I finally get to give my views, and that of others, to those in higher positions, said the daughter of Vaughn and Vanya Albury.
So how did this journey begin for Ryan? She was among a number of the Ministry of Tourism’s Language Cadet students interviewed for the position of Jr. Minister of Tourism. Ryan was a French Cadet whose experience as a cadet climaxed with her living in France for a month, studying at Accord Ecole de Langues courtesy of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
Assistant Director of the Tourism Awareness Program, Ruthann Rolle said eight of the cadets were interviewed and Rayan came out on top.
The students were participants of a ten week hotel mentoring course, sponsored by the Bahamas Hotel Association and coordinated by Mrs. Rolle. It is an interactive approach to tourism learning and to produce students with first hand-knowledge about the industry.
“The best students a given a four-week internship, are evaluated and then write an essay. The the last round, the oratorical skills of the students are reviewed along with academics and their skills and behaviour, in terms of handling front-line jobs” said Ms. Rolle.
Ryan said her four-week internship at Atlantis really opened her eyes to what tourism is all about.
“I actually got inside the system at Atlantis. Tourism has had such an impact on me that sometimes I want to change my career choice or try to integrate law into tourism,” said the future lawyer.
“Overall, tourism to me is very fascinating” she exclaimed.
Ryan will begin classes at The College of The Bahamas at the end of the month to study Law and Criminal Justice. She eventually wants to study corporate law.
The talented teenager recently returned to The Bahamas from Ghana, Africa where she toured with The National Children’s Choir. Ryan, who is musically inclined received a distinction in Grade 1 of The Royal School of Music exams.
Additionally, this year’s Junior Minister of Tourism is a very smart young woman. The former St. John’s College prefect received seven A’s, two B’s and one C in The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams. She also graduated with distinction from St. John’s College in June.
And although she intends to study law, she has a passion for the country’s main industry. She hopes to see the Tourism and Education Task Force eventually expand its magnate hospitality program into private schools as well.
Questioned as to who really is Ryan Albury, the youngster said, “I am a person who is really looking for a place in society and this world. I know my strengths and I know my goals everybody is trying to find their purpose in life. That’s really my quest.”
PASSING ON THE BATON – From one leader to another, the baton of Junior Minister of Tourism is passed on. Pictured from left to right are former Junior Minister of Tourism Corain Smith, Director General of Tourism, Vernice Walkine and current Junior Minister of Tourism, Ryan Albury.