Antigua student Gabrielle Martin has won the 2002 Condé Nast Traveler “My Caribbean Essay Contest.”
Editor in Chief Tom Wallace made the announcement on Tuesday October 29, 2002 at an awards presentation at the 25th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-25).
Mr.Wallace, along with Vice President and Publisher Lisa Hughes, also announced that Shiugobin Jaikarran of Guyana and Tianna Charles of the British Virgin Islands were the first and second runners up respectively.
Grand Prize Winner Martin received a $2000 scholarship and will be flown to the World Travel Mart in London in November 2002 courtesy of Condé Nast Traveler and American Airlines. Her winning essay will be featured in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. The runners up each received a $500 prize and certificate.
After a multistep judging process involving ministries of tourism, ministries of education and the Caribbean Tourism Organization, a finalist was chosen from each island. 27 finalists representing almost all of the islands in the Caribbean travelled to CTC-25. Each child and a chaperone flew courtesy of American Airlines to the conference on Grand Bahama Island where they stayed at The Royal Oasis. Once there they participated in a three-day workshop and the awards ceremony, where they were rewarded for their creative work on their essays.
For the past ten years Condé Nast Traveler and American Airlines have been sponsoring the “My Caribbean Essay Contest” in conjunction with the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
From Anguilla to Venezuela the magazine has been helping to educate children on every island on the importance of tourism in their country. This year, children from CTO member countries were asked to submit a 250-word essay on the topic What Would You Tell
A Visitor To See And Do On Your Island?
In the winning essay Gabrielle Martin enticed readers with her opening line, “Have you ever experienced pure Paradise?”
She then described the different areas that someone would tour while in Antigua; from the market to the historic plantations to the island’s “365 beautiful beaches.”
Martin talked of the performers visitors encounter in the marketplace “playing steel drum music so sweet that you won’t ever want to leave.”
This essay captured you from the very beginning and left the reader wanting more with a closing that featured a sunset to say good-bye and the line, “My island is a beautiful place filled with adventure, I cannot do it justice with words so you have to experience it for yourself. So come and enjoy your first taste of Paradise.”
This year, Condé Nast Traveler also conducted a 10th Anniversary Essay Contest featuring the ten winners from past contests. Christel St. Firmin from Haiti, the 1999 “My Caribbean Essay Contest” winner, was chosen as the winner for the 10th Anniversary Contest and flown to Grand Bahama Island to read her essay titled How Winning The Condé Nast Traveler “My Caribbean Essay Contest” Changed My Life.
The theme and rules for the “My Caribbean Essay Contest” were communicated to all CTO members and Ministers of Tourism by the magazine’s publisher. The contest was then administered through the school system on each of the member countries. 27 CTO member states participated with over 1200 essays received.
Condé Nast Traveler’s “My Caribbean Essay Contest” event sponsors include American Airlines, Royal Oasis Golf Resort and Casino,
UNEXSO, Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, Grand Bahama Island Magazine, The Islands of the Bahamas, and the Port Lucaya Marketplace.
Condé Nast Traveler is the world’s leading travel magazine, published in New York City. Condé Nast Traveler stands for “Truth in Travel” Unlike many other travel publications, Condé Nast Traveler does not accept free travel and accommodations, and its correspondents, as far as possible, travel anonymously. The result is travel the way consumers experience it, good and bad, with reporting that is fair and honest. Condé Nast Traveler is the only travel publication to have won a National Magazine Award, the highest honor in magazine publishing. Condé Nast Traveler has a circulation of over 750,000 and is published by the Condé Nast Publications, Inc.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean`s tourism development agency and comprises membership of 32 governments and a myriad of private sector companies.