Laron Jones a fifth form student of the St. Vincent Grammar School is this country’s “Junior Minister of Tourism” for 2018. The “Junior Ministers of Tourism” concept was developed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in 2002 with the aim of encouraging youth in CTO member countries to compete for the chance to be a youth ambassador for their destination.

Among the activities the “Junior Ministers of Tourism” participated in, is the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress which is an integral part of CTO’s annual State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC); a regional activity involving students between the ages of 14-17 from CTO member countries. The main aim of the Youth Congress is to stimulate greater awareness and excitement about tourism among young people in our Caribbean communities, by allowing them to research various facets of the tourism sector and share their ideas and vision with respect to future directions for Caribbean tourism. A record eighteen (18) students participated in this year’s Congress.

After being absent from the Tourism Youth Congress for a decade, Jones, did the destination proud with his presentations at the 2018 Youth Congress. His main presentation dubbed “A new you in 32” focused on the CTO’s topic on wellness and rejuvenation. In his introduction he noted that “The year 2018 has been declared as the year of wellness and rejuvenation in the Caribbean and that is exactly what St. Vincent and the Grenadines will deliver; a healthy, rejuvenated you. My Ministry is cognizant of the fact that the Caribbean and in particular our 32 islands and cays are ideally positioned as wellness destinations.”

Jones was chaperoned by Head of the English Department at the St. Vincent Grammar School, Caron Bucchan, while Chief Operating Officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) Faylene King, served as the country coordinator for the Youth Congress; King headed SVG’s Delegation to the 2018 SOTIC held in October in the Bahamas. Avanell Dasilva, Quality Development Manager in the Tourism Authority was also part of this country’s delegation to the 2018 SOTIC. The annual conference hosted by Caribbean Tourism Organization was held under the theme “Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect”.