Tourism industry needs enhanced human resource
– GTA Director
“The need to enhance the quality of our human resource base has become of critical importance in the development paradigm.” This notion was emphasized recently by Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Indranauth Haralsingh.
He insisted that Guyana and the local Tourism Industry are in need of a hospitality training institute.
Human resource development, Haralsingh said, is imperative in light of the fact that Guyana is now a more popular destination, a state of affairs he attributed to earnest collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, the GTA, the private sector and other partners.
Guyana, according to him, has been featured now widely among the National Geographic 2011 top 50 journeys of a lifetime. It made front cover just weeks ago on Big Earths 101 Amazing Adventure Destinations.
“In addition to that, we were featured on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, etcetera. Our sales and distribution network have also been expanding; arrivals have also been increasing, our visitors and tourists have expectations and we must meet and exceed them,” Haralsingh asserted.
According to the GTA Director, globalisation and technological advances have had significant impacts on labour markets and on skills requirement thus the provision of quality education and training has been given high priority by the Government of Guyana.
He noted that the establishment of a hospitality training institute will contribute significantly to the man-power for the high-end tourism market and for the rapidly expanding tourism and hospitality sector.
A feasibility study has already been undertaken to ascertain the viability of the institute which will fall under the purview of the Ministry of Education. And according to Haralsingh, the widespread participatory approach by the consultants to this feasibility study “will bring us closer to the realization of an institution which will prepare our industry for the future.”
The proposed institute, Haralsingh noted, is poised to assist “us to determine the most appropriate approach to the provision of hospitality education and training.”
In the long term, he added that a hospitality training institute would provide prospective tourism workers and those already employed in the industry with an opportunity to develop and enhance their skills and professionalism as they seek to contribute to national and regional development.
He also underscored that real economic activities in Guyana is expected to be sustained by tourism even as investment strategies in this sector will focus on enhancing service and product quality with the essential input being high quality labour.
“A hospitality training institute will have an impact on the pool of skilled labour available to the tourism sector and will also help to create an enabling environment for improving the performance of the sector as a whole,” Haralsingh added.
Human resource capacity building is a key developmental tool and it is a strategic investment that is very timely, much needed and extremely relevant to the local tourism industry.
“It is a step in the right direction…This will help Guyana to compete and to improve service delivery and quality and to help us to provide and guarantee a world class experience for our discerning visitors.”
Aimed at reviewing the state of hospitality in Guyana and to establish an institution for the delivery of hospitality programmes, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, on Wednesday, held a stakeholders’ consultation programme at the Pegasus Hotel.
The forum saw the attendance of tourist guide operators, officials of the Ministry of Tourism, the Carnegie School of Home Economics and representatives of other hospitality oriented entities and was intended to discuss the findings of a hospitality feasibility study undertaken under the auspices of the CDB with the Carnegie School of Home Economics being viewed as the institution with the potential to host hospitality-related programmes.
According to Minister Baksh, any hospitality programme must have entrepreneurship skills development thus the Ministry has been moving in directions which will satisfy the skills need of Guyana.
He pointed out that employers have been demanding more relevant skills as such all institutions must respond aggressively to fulfilling the kinds of demands being made by the private sector, enterprises and individual employers in the labour market.
“We have to ensure that we provide windows of opportunities for all of our youths and students coming out of the school system to be able to go in various career directions to be able to have options and to take up employment in key and critical areas.”