Heritage Tourism and Youth Empowerment: YouthPATH-Caribbean

The idea of using heritage tourism to empower young persons to achieve economic advancement and self esteem is the underlying approach of YouthPATH -- Youth Poverty Alleviation through Tourism and Heritage. A regional initiative of the UNESCO Office in Kingston, Jamaica, YouthPATH's goal is to train young people in poor rural communities in the development and documentation of cultural and natural heritage sites in the Caribbean.

The initial focus includes sites in six island nations (Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines) with others in Belize and Suriname. The intention is that these sites will become centres of national and international tourism and in doing so, generate income, reduce poverty and contribute to community development. Among the YouthPATH sites are villages settled by freed Africans rescued from ships engaged in 'illegal slave trading', an area demonstrating the history of estate life, and the nesting grounds of endangered leatherback turtles.

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