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40 Students Get to See St. Thomas as Tourists Do

May 15, 2004 – "Is it time yet? Is it time to go?" That was the buzz as pupils from Leonard Dober School eagerly awaited Friday's field trip. They were among 40 students in all, from five schools, who were selected to get a taste of what St. Thomas has to offer visitors — great food, breathtaking views, colorful sea life and frosty, cold drinks.
On a day when there was nary a cruise ship in the harbor, the hospitality industry was busy catering to kids from its own back yard. Each of the youngsters got to play "Tourist for a Day" as part of the territory's observance of National Tourism Week, and it gave many of them a chance to experience St. Thomas in a brand-new way.
"It's unfortunate that kids aren't as exposed as they should be" to tourism, Audrey Callwood of the Tourism Department said.. "We are here to bring awareness to what's happening. Tourism is the No. 1 industry, so they must treat our guests with respect and appreciation." Callwood organized the day's excursions.
Starting off in Emancipation Garden, the students were taken back 400 years on a historical walking tour. They visited the Fort Christian Museum and the Hebrew Congregation Synagogue and checked out The 99 Steps. They then were treated to lunch at Secret Harbour Beach Resort, a visit to Coral World and a safari tour of the island that included a stop at Mountain Top.
Asked what they were most excited about, the answer was a resounding "Coral World!"
The objective was to give the youngsters an understanding of their role in the tourism industry, according to Wanda Mills, who guided the downtown walking tour. "Many take tourists for granted because they don't see themselves as direct beneficiaries," she said.
The students were chosen for being good ambassadors for their schools. But being a guest on their island was the fun part. Next week, they'll have to put their newfound knowledge to work as they give presentations on their experiences to their classmates.
The schools participating were Nisky Moravian, Ulla Muller, Leonard Dober, Edith Williams and Wesleyan Academy.
National Tourism Week wraps up on Sunday.

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