Learning to teach tourism

As part of the agreement "Teach tourism in St. Martin," twenty-five instructors started a four-day training on Tuesday morning.

Since this morning, twenty-five volunteer teachers are attending the “Teach tourism in St. Martin" training. In her introductory speech at the beginning of the training session which was held at the Hôtel de la Collectivité, Aline Hanson praised the success of this operation and thanked, among others, the project manager, Evelyne Flemming and the two pioneer instructors who delivered the course today: Dominique GENE and Teddy DERBY. She also recalled both objectives of tourism education for middle schoolers, "anchor students to the territory and open them to the world" so they become "Tourism Ambassadors."

The three-party agreement (Collectivité – National Education and Office of Tourism) signed in May 2013, has already raised awareness on tourism for approximately 150 students, with 20 students per class of 4th and 3rd grades from all three middle schools.

"Tourism and History," "Tourism and Heritage," "Tourism and Economy" and "Tourism and Environment" are the four training modules that began this Tuesday, April 12th. Training will continue on April 13th, 21st, and 22nd, not only in the great hall of the Collectivité but also at the library, at La Samanna Belmond Hotel as well as on the grounds of the Réserve Naturelle. At the end of those four days, teachers will be able to teach tourism to middle schoolers starting next September.

Faced with a large number of volunteer teachers, the president of the Office of Tourism, Jeanne Vanterpool-Rogers said: "Today is a great day for tourism in St. Martin." She hopes that tourism courses continue in high school, maybe with "the creation of a Tourism-specific Baccalaureate."

Michel Sanz, representative of the Recteur of Guadeloupe, replied and confirmed that the Ministry of Education had "obviously all intentions to continue and expand" this tourism education program. The next agreement should be signed by late May. Signatories will decide how the course may or may not be extended to other grades.

This initiative has already inspired several similar plans in the District. Michel Sanz does not hide his ambition for the territory: "Beyond Guadeloupe, Saint Martin must become a tourism education benchmark."

Estelle Gasnet