Tourism Ac­tion Club – 20 years of mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence

Jamaica Gleaner - - THE BUSINESS OF TOURISM -

MALL JA­MAICANS Mak­ing a Big Dif­fer­ence’ is the motto of the Tourism Ac­tion Club (TAC), and over its 20-year his­tory, the club has lived up to this maxim. Through the TAC, young peo­ple across the is­land have been ex­posed to ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing and have been em­pow­ered to con­trib­ute to the con­tin­ued suc­cess of tourism.

The TAC is an ini­tia­tive de­vel­oped and spear­headed by the Ja­maica Tourist Board (JTB) to en­hance stu­dents’ knowl­edge and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the tourism sec­tor. Stu­dents at the sec­ondary and ter­tiary level learn about tourism in fun and ex­cit­ing ways. The ini­tia­tive, which be­gan with 36 schools, has mush­roomed into a vi­brant or­gan­i­sa­tion which now boasts over 100 clubs across the is­land.

The man­date of the TAC is to sen­si­tise the stu­dents to the ben­e­fits of the in­dus­try to all Ja­maicans – from the in­di­vid­ual to the na­tional level. The JTB con­tin­ues to en­gage the stu­dents in top­i­cal is­sues, trends and best prac­tices in the in­dus­try. Equally, the stu­dents have been valu­able con­trib­u­tors, shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences and ideas about what they want to see in the in­dus­try. They also par­tic­i­pate in in­ter­na­tional fora such as the Global Travel and Tourism Part­ner­ship Re­search Awards and the Caribbean Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion Youth Congress.

Staff ad­vis­ers play a vi­tal role in the suc­cess and sus­tain­abil­ity of the TAC ma­chin­ery as they help to make the con­cepts come alive. The ad­vis­ers’ re­source­ful­ness and cre­ativ­ity help stu­dents to de­velop more than a cur­sory in­ter­est in the in­dus­try, with them of­ten be­com­ing tourism am­bas­sadors.

Said Essie Gard­ner, mar­ket­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager, JTB: “It is amaz­ing to see how the Tourism Ac­tion Club has in­flu­enced our young peo­ple over the years. Whether they have pur­sued ca­reers in medicine, ed­u­ca­tion, pol­i­tics or tourism, they see the con­nec­tion and im­por­tance of tourism. That is the pur­pose of the club – to help our learn­ers un­der­stand that re­gard­less of their fi­nal ca­reer choice, there is al­ways a link to tourism.”

AN­NIVER­SARY CELEBRATION

Ex­cel­sior High School, which has the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the first in­sti­tu­tion to form a Tourism Ac­tion Club, was the venue for the Tourism Ac­tion Club 20th An­niver­sary Celebration and Poster Ex­hi­bi­tion. The event saw the par­tic­i­pa­tion of a num­ber of schools and pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity for the JTB to pub­li­cise the suc­cesses and ben­e­fits of the club.

High­lights of the day in­cluded the an­nounce­ment of St Jago High School as the win­ner of the TAC 20th An­niver­sary Poster Com­pe­ti­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, there were ra­dio in­ter­views with for­mer TAC mem­bers Floyd Green, min­is­ter of state, Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth and In­for­ma­tion; Gavin My­ers, events co­or­di­na­tor, Na­tional In­tegrity Ac­tion; and Dr Al­fred Dawes, se­nior med­i­cal of­fi­cer, Sa­vanna-la-Mar Hospi­tal. Other in­ter­vie­wees were Rad­cliffe Haynes, for­mer staff ad­viser at Ex­cel­sior High School who started the club 20 years ago; prin­ci­pal Dean­roy Brom­field; and cur­rent TAC mem­ber Aisha Downer. All lauded the TAC for its role in their aca­demic and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment.

Ex­cel­sior High School was pre­sented with an award for its unbroken com­mit­ment to tourism ed­u­ca­tion as the in­au­gu­ral Tourism Ac­tion Club.

The TAC is one of the ini­tia­tives of which the JTB is most proud, as the in­vest­ments made in the lives of young tourism en­thu­si­asts con­tinue to bear fruit. The TAC will con­tinue to be a very rel­e­vant medium for em­pow­er­ing to­day’s stu­dents to be­come to­mor­row’s in­dus­try lead­ers.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTOS

Dean­roy Brom­field (right), prin­ci­pal, Ex­cel­sior High School, and mem­bers of the school’s Tourism Ac­tion Club, re­ceive the ap­pre­ci­a­tion plaque from Matthew Blake (left), li­brar­ian, Ja­maica Tourist Board.

It was a TAC re­u­nion for Au­drey Fran­cis, for­mer prin­ci­pal and Tourism Ac­tion Club staff ad­viser at the Ober­lin High School, and her for­mer TAC stu­dent, Gavin My­ers, events co­or­di­na­tor, Na­tional In­tegrity Ac­tion. Fran­cis was guest speaker at the lun­cheon and Gavin My­ers of­fered re­marks on be­half of for­mer TAC mem­bers.

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