KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Tourism Week celebrations here begin tomorrow and continue through next Sunday under the theme, “Preserving and Promoting Our Culture through Tourism”.

The Ministry of Tourism and Industry, which is organising the celebratory activities, said in a release that it has followed in the footsteps of the World Tourism Organisation by selecting the 2011 theme, which highlights the cultural aspect of tourism.

“The objective of the week is to continue our efforts towards national sensitisation and awareness building about the importance of the tourism industry in SVG, so as to foster a deeper appreciation for and to focus national attention on this critical industry,” the ministry said.

It said cultural tourism has tremendous potential for enhancing culture, preserving heritage, and assisting in economic and social development.

The main highlights of Tourism Week 2011 are the Tourism Sunday church service at the Glen Baptist Church, the Tourism Youth Panel Competition, a Tourism Youth Symposium for Tertiary Students and the Annual Tourism Awards.

Six secondary schools across the country are expected to participate in the Tourism Youth Panel Competition on Tuesday.

The objectives of the Tourism Youth Panel Competition are to challenge students’ knowledge of the importance of the tourism industry, to help students recognise their role in effecting change in attitudes towards tourism and to encourage students to share their ideas on the tourism industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry will host a tourism awards ceremony to honour several persons who have made significant contributions to the tourism and hospitality industry.

On Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the NIS Training room, tertiary level students will take part in a Tourism Symposium, where speakers will address different topics that will increase students awareness of the impact of tourism development, provide a forum to share insight from different sectors of the economy and foster academic discourse on the tourism industry.

Throughout the week, the public will also have an opportunity to win prizes on the daily tourism quiz segment on WE FM.

The week of activities will culminate with a Tourism Sensitisation Day, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., where tourism officials, along with stakeholders, will take questions from the public and display material outside the Singer Building on Halifax Street.

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