Collaboration to Bring Improved Results
Tuesday, January 22nd, the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (MOTA), Grand Bahama Island facilitated the first Industry Training meeting with major stakeholders for the year 2019.
The meeting, which took place at the local tourism office, served as a platform to make preparation for an anticipated boom in the Grand Bahamian tourism economy with the Director of Training & Education, MOTA (New Providence) Ian Ferguson introducing the rebranded BahamaHost Training Program.
As all sectors of the tourism industry were represented, those in attendance were actively engaged in discussions on the importance of having a well-trained and enthusiastic workforce for the hospitality and tourism sector.
Stakeholders were also asked to voice concerns on why Grand Bahama Island has faced tremendous challenges (particularly related to service levels and product offerings in years past) in addition to how the island can reposition itself, through training and education, to take advantage of the destination’s diverse landscapes.
With the recent rebranding of the BahamaHost Program, Sandra P. Russell, General Manager, Human Resources and Industry Training, MOTA GBI, said, “The Ministry of Tourism is here to help you and to work with you to ensure that your employees are prepared and well-informed professionals, through participation in one of our various training programs.”
She added that “I would like to promote the corporate and leadership training programs to our leaders, managers, and middle management and encourage you to register along with your team members for one of our programs being offered.”
As tourism is the number one industry throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, it was also noted and quickly became the consensus that more value and recognition should be placed on the islands’ identity, tourism education, and training.
Ferguson, who believes that Grand Bahama Island has the greatest potential, said, “It starts with national pride and identity. Owning who we are, loving who we are, and with a fierceness defending that — because this is still a great place to live and work.”
He also added that “We are not limited to only addressing the needs of those in the industry [but also those who are indirectly engaged] - we cover everyone, in fact we cover every and anywhere there is a tourism product.”
With the “experience” being the prime reason for travel, it was understood that those on Grand Bahama Island and throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas should do their due diligence by putting their best foot forward while forgetting past disappointments and solely looking towards the future.
As the urge to bridge the gap between the current market and evolving consumer demands is increasingly important, Russell encouraged all employers to make the BahamaHost Certification a criterion for hire in the hospitality and tourism industry and insisted this certification be mandatory for existing employees across all levels.
To this end, the new program is available to all Bahamians and will include three levels of certification and additional courses covering leadership, foreign language, soft skills, tour guiding, cultural immersion, product training, hospitality, and the rebranded BahamaHost core program.