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Minister McNeill launches Languages Skills Training Programme for Tourism Workers

Ministry of Tourism | 2013-11-22 00:00:00

In a bid to better accommodate visitors from non-English speaking countries the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and its agency, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), on Thursday, November 21, 2013, launched the Russian and Spanish Language Skills Training Programme for tourism workers at the Couples Swept Away Resort in Negril.

The Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, officially launched the programme which he said is a big boost to the industry as frontline service providers will be better equipped to deal with visitors from new and emerging markets. “We are confident that this programme will greatly enhance our tourism product by making our workers more sensitive to the needs of our guests who speak foreign languages,” Dr. McNeill said during his keynote address.

He further pointed out that the programme will equip the participants with basic communication skills that will enhance customer satisfaction levels and ensure repeat guests.

The target groups for the language training programmes are frontline workers in the tourism sector, including immigration and custom officers; red cap porters; taxi and bus operators; craft vendors and workers in hotels and attractions, and Jamaica Tourist Board personnel.  “It is incumbent on us to prepare our tourism workers to make our visitors feel comfortable while they are here and interacting with Jamaicans who speak their language is one sure way of doing so,” Dr. McNeill added.

The Minister said the $3 Million that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has allocated for this programme is money well spent as Russia, Spain and Latin America are potentially rich source markets for Jamaica which are currently being targeted to significantly boost our market diversification drive in order to ensure sustainable growth in the sector. Minister McNeill reminded the audience that earlier this month Jamaica welcomed upgraded service by Russian carrier Transaero Airlines, which has replaced its Boeing 777 aircraft with a Boeing 747 with capacity of over 500 seats into Montego Bay.

“We also have flights out of the Czech Republic starting in December and are on target for two flights out of Stockholm Sweden, one starting in November and the other in December,” Minister McNeill added.

Executive Training Manager at TPDCo, Beverley Price, underscored the importance of enhancing the tourism product that is being offered to visitors. “We share the belief of the Ministry that it is of utmost importance that these language skills be introduced to our frontline tourism workers in order to enhance the quality of service that the destination offers,” Ms. Price said.

Language Specialist in the Ministry of Education, Martha Corbett-Baugh, emphasized that the participants will be provided with the basic language skills to communicate. “At the end we will test and see that participants will be able to enhance their offering, work better, serve Jamaica better and by all means become better service providers for the market.” 

Ms. Baugh pointed out that for the months of November and December Russian is the language that will be taught and thereafter Spanish will be introduced to the 300 participants during the 12-week programme. Classes are scheduled to start on November 28 at the Grand Pineapple Hotel in Negril and at the Civic Centre in Montego Bay on December 4, 2013.

The programme was endorsed by the Regional Director for Region 4 of the Ministry of Education Hillary Foster; President of Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Evelyn Smith; and the Negril Resort Board by way of hotelier Daniel Grizzle.


Posted By :Kingsley Roberts

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