…initiative will pave way for new opportunities – Tourism Minister
The Tourism and Hospitality Diploma Programme was on Tuesday launched through an undertaking by ActionINVEST Caribbean, marking a significant milestone in nurturing the next generation of talented professionals in the field.
As the approved teaching centre in Guyana by the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality in the UK and the National Accreditation Council of Guyana, ActionINVEST Caribbean Inc will offer these advanced courses and issue globally recognised qualifications.
Chairman of ActionINVEST Caribbean Incorporated, Dr Vishnu Doerga said the programme has been long in the making. He identified that the hospitality sector has maximum potential amid a growing petroleum industry. As such, the tourism product should be presented to the highest standards.
Along with the theoretical aspect, operators are on board to ensure persons have practical experience before they graduate. With several international hotel chains making their way into the local market, Doerga said it is time to act now to make tourism a complete product in Guyana.
“We have so many more components to tourism that needs to be in place…Programmes like this will help with the fundamental, theoretical reasons of how this industry works and why the components are there that will allow people to understand how we can turn this into a profitable enterprise,” he noted.
Marketing Director of the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality, Steve Beckworth shared that learners will be equipped with an internationally recognised CTH qualification.
“The industry is definitely recovering well, and the sector needs fresh, well-qualified, and passionate staff to be working in hotels, restaurants, events, and all different kinds of hospitality,” Beckworth underscored.
Meanwhile, the President of THAG, Harrinand Persaud recognised that there is a persistent gap currently in human resource capacity, while also suffering the loss of employees to other sectors.
“In the face of challenge, we see a tremendous opportunity. By focusing on fulfilling this HR gap and upskilling our existing industry professionals, we need to create a robust and resilient tourism and hospitality sector. The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality programmes play a vital role in equipping our aspiring candidates with the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise to meet the industry demands…By fostering strong partnerships, we can ensure that candidates have access to quality education, internships, and job placement opportunities.”
In her feature remarks, Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond underscored that this initiative is the first of its kind but paves the way for new opportunities.
For March 2023, visitor arrival was the highest that it had ever been in a decade. The Minister credited these statistics to the oil and gas industry, and direct interventions by the Government to bring new airlines into the local market.
“We looked at the stats all the way down to 2017. We have seen the highest figure for March 2023 for visitors’ arrival – the highest we have ever seen in 10 years, pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.”
She pointed out that training is critical to ensure that quality of service is up to par, amid the growing number of rooms and arrivals. Some 1500 rooms will come onstream with the hotels that are presently under construction and this will see the need for hundreds of well-trained professionals to serve the industry.
“We have all these people coming. We have all these airlines and then people come for a great experience. That’s where the training is critical and that is where we struggle,” Minister Walrond pointed out.
In hospitality, she called for the uniqueness of the Guyanese brand to be leveraged to the country’s advantage.
“I believe that the thing that will distinguish us and set us apart from the rest of our competitors is the warmth, generosity, the Guyanese-style hospitality that will leave a lasting impression on people…I would really like for us to have that Guyanese brand on our training,” the Minister added. (G-12)