Youth urged to take advantage of community tourism
Panellists at the Global Shapers Bridgetown Hub Youth Forum on Wednesday morning.
One avenue for young people to secure steady employment is community tourism.
This was the view expressed during the Global Shapers Bridgetown Hub Forum by Vice President of the Barbados Entrepreneurship and Tourism Association, Donnya Piggott, who is also an advocate for LGBT issues.
The panel, which included behavioural specialist Imran Richards; incoming Curator of the Global Shapers Bridgetown Hub and President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS), Kemar Saffrey; and economist and consultant, Jeremy Stephen, spoke at length on issues affecting the economy and the ways in which youth can tackle them.
Piggott said the time has come for Barbados’ tourism product to be more diversified and urged young ones to capitalise on platforms such as Airbnb as a host or under the new travel and experiences category, as a way to earn income for themselves and foreign exchange for the country.
“There are so much more opportunities that exist on platforms such as Airbnb that we are not tapping into because it upsets the status quo and these are things that keep us behind. Imagine this on a national scale and this can contribute to the foreign exchange this country so desperately needs,” she asserted.
Piggott noted these avenues have the potential to help young and middle-class people better themselves and she urged them not to be dissuaded by large hoteliers who believe “that the money is not supposed to be in our hands.”
She said as it currently stands, there are many persons employed within the formal tourism sector who are not reaping the benefits.
"The benefits of community tourism are so vast. What it does it that it allows each individual to be an entrepreneur. What the situation is only a few of us benefit from tourism and many work in tourism but are not reaping the benefits that tourism provides.
"If we do it [community tourism] on a national scale and if we are able to make this a national effort so that each us can contribute to making foreign exchange for this country I really feel that the future of Barbados can be very bright."
Piggott added if each individual makes an effort to re-brand Barbados’ tourism product to a more community-based one, eventually community tourism can be the “saviour of the Barbadian economy”.