Hospitality Institute to be Established in Jamaica


A regional state-of-the-art hospitality institute for the training of supervisory staff in the tourism and hospitality industry is set to be established in Jamaica during 2009.
The project is being facilitated through the collaborative efforts of the Governments of Spain and Jamaica and other Caribbean counterparts.
The institute, which will be modelled off the prestigious School of Hospitality and Tourism of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, will seek to train in excess of 150 students each year for the booming tourism industry. Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, and Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett toured the Spanish-based facility last year.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus de Silva, has pledged US$1 million on behalf of his government for preliminary work on the project, which will involve the upgrading and renovation of the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel in St. Ann.
Minister Bartlett, addressing a recent press conference at the Iberostar Hotel in Rose Hall after a tour of the facility, noted that the recent massive expansion in the tourist industry has increased the medium to long-term demand for a more qualified workforce.
“The fact is that Jamaica has been experiencing exceptional growth in tourism room expansion over the last two years and is expected to continue in this vein. The fact is that in the next five years, we are going to need some 33,000 new workers in the tourism industry to meet the need for the expanded room and attraction developments currently taking place,” he stated.
He further pointed to an 11 per cent increase in stopover arrivals over last year, but noted that “in order for us to maintain this growth, we have to train our people. We have to make sure that the cadre of technical support that the industry has is fully trained to give what I call ‘high-touch service’, because service remains the most important aspect of the experience of the tourist. It is felt that some 60 per cent of the experience is service. Service defines the destination and determines whether or not the repeat visitor is there and Jamaica has an enviable record . but we need to repeat and improve that.”
According to the Tourism Minister, the establishment of the hospitality institute will provide the trained personnel to meet the needs of the industry. “I am impatient to get this school off the ground and running and that impatience has driven a commitment to do everything that is possible, between now and the end of this year, to see this hospitality school started”.
He said he expects that the institute will be up and running by the third quarter of 2009, “but the preliminary stages must be well out of the way by the third quarter of this year.”
Minister Bartlett commended the Spanish Ambassador for the commitment made on behalf of the Spanish government.
“We know that the partnership that has developed between the two countries far transcends and goes way beyond the investments that have been flowing from your country. I look forward to our very joint and effective relationship that will culminate with a school of hospitality that will respond effectively to the training needs of our Jamaican middle management in the tourism industry,” he said.

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