BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The acquisition of the St. Kitts Eco-park was a significant occasion as agro-tourism has proven to be a viable part of the Federation’s tourism product. As such, teaching students about agro-tourism, through the Tourism Education Programme, will be beneficial not only to persons who want to start a career in agriculture, but to the tourism product, according to Tourism Research/Education Officer, Therez Ambrose-Versailles.
Mrs. Ambrose-Versailles explained that part of the agro-tourism programme is to show the link between agriculture and tourism. She added that teaching this will help eradicate the stigma that the field of agriculture is debasing.
“We want to show students that once you have a product, what you can do with it after,” she explained Mrs. Ambrose-Versailles. “Once you have harvested your food, how can you market it to your customers not only locals, but to visitors who come here.
“Mind you, they come here to experience our food. Food is one of the biggest money earners in the tourism sector. So, for them to see it, and work with their hands in a practical way, they can see the linkages that we can have between the tourism sector and the agricultural sector.”
There is a pilot project in place at Basseterre High School (BHS) where a small area has been designated to grow a vegetable garden, said Mrs. Ambrose-Versailles. “Three vegetables have been selected for the students to grow. The actual programme will be implemented in September.
It is necessary for persons to see agriculture as a business, said Mrs. Ambrose-Versailles, adding that it will redound to sustainable tourism.
“You have the farm-to-table experience where visitors can come in and pick their own fruits or fish if they want to, prepare it, and there are experts there that can assist them,” said Mrs. Ambrose-Versailles. “That in itself is a money earner. [This is also] for persons in the village who want to build a community type of tourism.”