Hospitality Institute will empower vulnerable groups

– THAG President

The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) has said the proposed Hospitality Institute will help to empower vulnerable groups in the society with the skills needed to the develop the tourism industry.

The project is being funded through collaboration between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Guyana. 

In an interview with DPI, President of THAG, Mr. Mitra Ramkumar said many of the beneficiaries are already employed in the industry and with the formal training from the Institute, it should attract more persons to the industry.  

The Institute, which THAG had long lobbied for, will fall within the purview of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry will collaborate with the Guyana Tourism Authority and THAG on its curriculum.

Mitra Ramkumar, President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG)

Mr. Ramkumar said when the plans are realised, the services at the Institute should be offered free of cost.

“One of the main reasons why we feel so it’s not because it will benefit tourism, it’s because it will benefit the vulnerable in society…I’m talking about mostly women, single mothers, school drop outs…people are able to have a second chance with this,” Mr. Ramkumar said.

The THAG President is also advocating for the Institute to be equipped with dormitory facilities so that persons from Guyana’s interior could benefit from the training opportunities.

“Tourism as an industry has a huge value chain and what we want to have as a destination is to have shared prosperity, especially as Guyana develops as an oil and gas frontier country,” he said.

The tourism official added that while Guyanese are a hospitable people, there is still need for a standard delivery of service.

“The curriculum that is being developed now will be delivered if the Institute does not finish in time.  We will start that because the industry actually needs it now, so we would not wait until the actual construction of that before we start delivery,” he pointed out.

The facility will provide practical training.  “This is where it takes the burden off of the industry and off of the private sector where persons are able to go to the Institute and get a practical.  So, you get a rounded individual when you are a graduate from this Institute, meaning that you have a theory and a practical, so that when you are a graduate, you are able to hit the ground running,” Mr. Ramkumar explained.

Land has been allocated at Providence for the construction of the Institute and the first draft of the proposed design submitted to stakeholders. The CDB had initially granted approval for the Institute; however, an upcoming meeting in December is expected to provide official approval for the project.