Tourism Action Club – 20 years of making a big difference
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.”
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.
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.