JIS News

The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) is pressing ahead with several training programmes designed to provide the tourism industry with the 15,000 world class workers that will be needed to satisfy the staff needs of additional hotels and increased room stock expected come on stream in the next five to ten years.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank session at the information agency’s head office in Kingston, Executive Director at the TPDCo, Karen Ford Warner pointed out that: “We have a tourism training department that concerns itself with ensuring that the human resources within our industry are up to the required international standards.”
The organisation’s main training initiative is the Team Jamaica programme which is mandatory for tourism and hospitality workers.
The 40-hour programme, she explained, “gives a good introduction to the tourism industry, to the history, culture and environment of Jamaica and to the necessary attitude that you need to work effectively within the industry.”
The TPDCo Executive Director added: “Persons have found it to be a very useful course; particularly persons coming from overseas to work in the Jamaican culture. They have found it very exciting because they get to learn a lot about Jamaica in the process and this also helps in ‘easing in’ some of the foreign investors who come to work and live in Jamaica.”
She noted that the Heart Trust NTA and other tourism and hospitality institutions assist by delivering the programme in their institutions.
The TPDCo is also spearheading a number of skills upgrading courses for the industry including tour guiding and front desk operation.
Mrs. Ford Warner disclosed that to further expand tourism training initiatives, plans are being made to establish a tourism and hospitality facility in Montego Bay by 2009.
“We are still in preliminary stage of developing this and will need to figure out how we are going to work with existing agencies and the structure of the curricula,” she said.
She noted however that focus will be placed on training persons for supervisory and managerial positions which will be created within the expanded industry over the next five to ten years.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ford Warner pointed to other initiatives which will be implemented to enhance the overall tourism product.
“We are mandated under the Tourism Master Plan to encourage heritage and cultural tourism activities and projects,” she pointed out, adding that a unit has been formed within the TPDCo to work with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust to carry out an audit of existing and potential heritage attractions that could be developed.
The Tourism Product Development Company is the agency mandated by the Government of Jamaica to facilitate the maintenance, development and enhancement of the tourism product.

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