Jamaican students host ‘engaging’ tourism, travel and trade show in Toronto

By Lincoln DePradine

(l-r) Gina Hargitay and with pannist Chantel McKnight and ‘Uncle Jojo’.

It’s rare to find young people anywhere in Canada and the Caribbean who want to pursue a life in politics. Jamaican student Daren Miller, who has just ended a visit to Canada, is an exception.

“I am really going to be going into politics,’’ said Miller, a Jamaican Youth Ambassador, and also a student at Western Hospitality Institute (WHI) in Jamaica.

He was part of the 2017 WHI Bachelor of Science graduating class in hospitality management that visited Toronto and mounted “Crescendo,’’a tourism, travel and trade show. The event also incorporated the broad brand and theme of “Destination Jamaica’’.

The 17-member student delegation was accompanied by 40 teachers drawn from schools across Jamaica.

The WHI tour of Canada, now in its 12th year, is part of a professional development thrust by the institute to increase students’ awareness of the hospitality industry and to showcase their creativity.

“Crescendo’’, which was hosted last Friday at the Finch Avenue Campus of Seneca College, was attended by the show’s sponsors and visited by several Jamaican-Canadians, who were asked to evaluate the students’ exhibits. The evaluation will count towards the final grade of the graduating students.

Jamaica’s Consul General in Toronto, Lloyd Wilks, officially declared open the tourism, travel and trade show. He described it as an “absolutely engaging’’ program.

“It is indeed a learning experience for our students to have had this level of exposure, just stepping off the plane into a whole new environment,’’ said WHI president, Dr Cecil Cornwall, who also is a volunteer with the Jamaica ministry of education, youth and information.

“Studying tourism in a vacuum,’’ he said, “is not the answer to providing the kind of quality service that is required to serve the visitors that come to our shores.’’

Miller said the Canadian visit was “enriching’’ and “interesting’’, but reiterated that his WHI degree is just a “stepping stone’’ to a future in politics.

“This particularly degree that I am doing, hospitality management, is so broad and it gives you a breath of perspectives about how people interact right across the world. Hospitality is not unrelated to politics because of the people’s skills that it affords you,’’ he told The Caribbean Camera in an interview.

“I’m hoping that after having achieved this degree I’ll be going on to get the Chevening Scholarship to do my Master’s in public policy and development,’’ he said.

“Politics is necessary. Politics is the tool where one has to create legislation that would benefit our country. You must understand it as being important for the development of your country. When one understands it in that way, the best and the brightest minds will go into politics so as to make it successful in health, education, and so many areas that politics affects.’’

Miller and Gina Hargitay, an International Youth Ambassador, were co-MCs at the tourism, travel and trade show.

“I love Canada, I love Toronto. It’s such a great vibes and such a beautiful city,’’ said Hargitay, whose mother and uncle were at the event.

Her mother, an attorney and mediator, was visiting; and her uncle, who lives in Ontario, is the former owner of Jojo’s Caribbean Bakery.

Hargitay, at age 18, was selected as Miss Jamaica World and represented the country at the Miss World Pageant in Indonesia in 2013. At the contest, she emerged as the Miss World Caribbean.

A motivational speaker, Hargitay travels the world on speaking engagements. She said her participation in the Miss World Pageant has helped in her growth in life.

“It taught me about discipline; it taught me about time management; it taught me about being a strong person, because you really have to be sure of yourself in order to go out into this competition. So, it really taught me to trust myself and stand on my own two feet,’’ Hargitay said.