High School Students Exposed to More Career Options in Tourism

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Students of C. C. Sweeting Senior High School are pictured at the launch of the Tourism Education Initiative.

High school students enrolled in Hospitality and Tourism studies are learning this week that in addition to the cruise ship and mega resort industries there are career options in Airbnb. The Ministry of Education in partnership with the Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association and Airbnb launched a tourism education initiative at C. C. Sweeting High School, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Representatives from the various agencies are visiting Anatol Rodgers High School, C. V. Bethel High School and Doris Johnson High School during the period March 3 to March 6 to enlighten students about the diverse opportunities in the tourism sector. The theme for the initiative is ‘Empowering Youth through Travel and Tech’. “It is really to let the students know there is something else besides the cruise ship industry and the mega resort industry in The Bahamas. We now have Airbnb which is basically an entrepreneurial type platform where the average citizen can leverage whatever they have; their skills, their home, and earn an income,” said Raquel Turnquest, Acting Education Officer.

Airbnb representatives speak to the students. Pictured from left: Chloe Burke, Public Policy Associate, The Caribbean and Central America; Skylar Caesar, Technical Recruiting Coordinator; and David Offor, Software Engineer. (Photos/Edgar Arnette/Ministry of Education Communications Department)

“It gives them an opportunity to leverage their own rooms, their houses, villas, rental properties that their families may own. We know they are not eligible to be hosts until the age of 21. They have parents, brothers, sisters who may have a room that they can rent and put on Airbnb. “All of the students in the Hospitality and Tourism studies programme participate in food preparation. Something as simple as an experience where you teach visitors how to prepare a Bahamian cuisine is something that all of the students can access,” she added. Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education, Career and Technical Division, urged the students to embrace the opportunities. “Remember that you are the leaders of tomorrow. Everything that will be presented to you today, you can do on some platform or the other tomorrow. The career that you are preparing for does not yet exist, you have to create opportunities for yourselves,” said Mrs. Bastian.

Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education, Career and Technical Division (left) and Suzanne Pattusch, Executive Vice-President, Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association, presenters at the event.

“They [Airbnb] are not here for free. Learn all you can, glean all you can and make the connection. Brand yourself in such a way that when they leave here, they want to come back to Cobra nation to find you. “Believe in your product. Everybody will not qualify to accept your product. Leave here empowered to go out and change hospitality and tourism for The Bahamas for what we know today to what it should be tomorrow,” said Mrs. Bastian. In 2017, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Airbnb signed a Memorandum of Understanding to regularize vacation home rentals and enhance promotion of this tourism sector. 

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