The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and its implementing agency, the National Tourist Board with support from the Sustainable Tourism Development and Promotion Project (STDPP) under the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Tier 2 and government counterpart funding launched a 5-day training of trainers’ workshop for public and private sector workers in the tourism sector. The launching was held at Country Lodge Hotel Hall, Freetown.
The training workshop is facilitated by two Canadian tourism experts, Fergus McLaren and Wayne Smith both from the Ted Rogers School of Tourism Management in Canada. The training attracted 50 carefully selected participants from the public and private sector who will in turn transfer the knowledge acquired to their various institutions. The five days training focused on introducing tourism – why people travel, sustainability and the triple bottom line, sales systems and marketing, delivering quality services and performance metrics and review.
The Human Resource and Admin Manager of the NTB, Cyrillia Wilson on behalf of the General Manager of the NTB who also manages the EIF Project, Fatmata Hamid Carew remarked that despite the great opportunities in the sector, it continues to suffer from an acute human resource capacity limitation at all levels of the demand. She continued that to address this challenge the Ministry and the Board with support from the STDPP, EIF Tier 2 undertook a training needs assessment and training plan for the sector which revealed significant gap on the supply and demand needs of the sector and reiterate the need for overhauling of the curriculum for the sector and the need to build the education infrastructure and capacity for the delivery of education in tourism and hospitality.
She mentioned that they have with support from the EIF also developed the Integrated Tourism Curriculum that speaks to all facets of the tourism industry and is expected to address issues related to the human resource capacity gaps including the ability of tourism training institution to support both formal, informal, public and private education and training needs in Sierra Leone.
She called on participants to exchange experiences and work together and get more knowledge, not only for another certificate but as tourism trainers that will speak to the rebirth of their tourism training institutions in Sierra Leone.
One of the trainers, Wayne Smith, the Interim Director, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in Canada intimated that the training comprises of great leaders who will work as mentors and take the knowledge acquired to their various institutions.
He stated that the training will be sustained in a way that they are making good connections with the individuals, adding that the service and the people need to have a good connection with their guests.
Launching the training of trainers workshop, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt maintained that the training is a strategic step towards building the capacity of sector workers, hence tourism is about service delivery and ensure the guests get the best experience. “You can have the beautiful places with world class facilities but if the trained personnel is lacking the guests cannot understand the products and enjoy the services”, she said.
As a result of linking effective service delivery and building the tourism infrastructure, they decided to embark on human resources capacity building and review of the curriculum supported by the EIF. She pointed out that the training is important as it resonates with President Bio’s vision to make tourism a growth sector. She thanked Ted Rogers University for working with them on this and the EIF for their continued support to the sector, while also encouraging participants to treat the training with utmost seriousness