Gov’t. Asked to Change Site of Hospitality School


Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has asked the Government to seek a “more suitable alternative site” for the establishment of the proposed Hospitality School.
He said the institution, which will train persons in the hospitality industry, is proposed to be established at the Richmond Hill Hotel in Montego Bay St. James, the purchase of which the Ministry of Tourism is negotiating, but which he contends is not suitable to accommodate the facility.
Making his contribution to the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House, on July 21, Dr. McNeill said that while the Opposition concurred with plans for the institute’s establishment, the selected site was “impractical.” To this end, he suggested that either the HEART Academy in Runaway Bay, St. Ann, or the El Greco Hotel, in Montego Bay, St. James, be considered as alternatives. He said that both establishments, which are state-owned, could be refurbished “at a fraction of the cost being considered” for Richmond Hill, noting that “already, there are training programmes at HEART.”
He also urged Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, to engage in “expansive dialogue” with the private sector about the institution’s development. “They should play an integral role in the formulation of the strategy, and in the development of the curriculum,” he suggested.
The Tourism Ministry, through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), has partnered with the University of Technology (UTech), to establish the hospitality school. In May, Minister Bartlett, and UTech President, Professor Errol Morrison, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to undertake the project.
The institution, which will offer degree and certificate programmes, is intended to: improve the level of training and certification of the Jamaican workforce; provide supervisory/middle management training for staff in the tourism sector; and provide students with academic training and hands-on experience.
The facility will be a fully commercial operation, mirroring the model established by the Hospitality School of the University of the Balearic Islands, which operates a five star hotel, and also offers training.

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