Bermudian student Blake
Sonnenfeld emerged as winner of this year’s CTO/Travel + Leisure Tourism Youth Congress held at CTC-29.Nashara
Webster of Anguilla placed second and Andrena Athill of Antigua and
Barbuda was third.
They were among 16 high school students between the ages of 14 and 17
who represented their respective countries as “Junior Ministers of
Tourism” at the Sixth Annual Tourism Youth Congress which is sponsored
by Travel + Leisure, with support from the Naismith Basketball
Foundation and Air Jamaica.
“I plan definitely to sit down and have a long talk with the ministry
(of tourism) about youth and tourism in Bermuda and using me to reach
out to the youth in tourism,” Sonnenfeld said immediately after the
results were announced.
The Saltus Grammar School student described the Youth Congress as an interesting
experience which allowed the students to say what they thought of tourism while
promoting their countries.
“I really enjoyed it because not only was it sharing our views on tourism but it was
also showcasing our countries and saying ‘this is my country and come and see my
country,’” he said.
The Sixth Annual CTO/Travel + Leisure Youth Congress, which simulated a CTO Board of
Directors meeting, was chaired by last year’s winner, Justin Seale of Barbados.
“It’s a good marketing tool to promote to other young people how lucrative the
tourism industry is and dispel the rumor that tourism is a menial industry,” Seale
said of the Youth Congress shortly before the results were announced.
“I must thank the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism in Barbados
for their generosity in the prizes that they bestowed upon me and for using me as a
vessel to promote tourism among the youth,” he added while recapping the last year.
This year, the students debated “Culinary Tourism - Where Food is the Attraction,”
and “Incorporating the Music and Entertainment Industry as an Integral Part of the
Tourism Product.” The “Junior Ministers” also debated a “mystery question” through
which they were challenged to recommend one key area to strengthen the tourism
sector in their countries.