Another 450 hospitality workers, who have been trained and certified by the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI), will graduate from the institution this Wednesday.
The ceremony is slated for the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, and brings the total number of persons graduating since the facility was established in 2017, to some 640, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has said.
He was speaking during a ceremony at Sunset at the Palms Resort and Spa in Negril, Westmoreland, on Sunday (Oct. 13) to mark the establishment’s 15th anniversary.
Bartlett argued the out-turn of JCTI graduates is indicative of the Government’s steadfast commitment to human resource development within the tourism industry.
The minister pointed out that major training programmes being offered to tourism workers at the JCTI, as well as in high schools, are intended to produce competent world-class professionals.
“All that level of human capital development that we are doing in the industry is [intended] to build out a quality of excellence that will make our industry and product [the most] sought after for any group anywhere in the world,” he further said.
Bartlett emphasised that a highly trained hospitality labour force will bolster competitiveness and employment opportunities for workers, particularly at the supervisory and management levels.
“This is important for workers, to give you quality middle staff. We went to the high schools for the first time in our history, and, last year, we started in the fifth and sixth forms at 33 schools across Jamaica. For the first time, [come] May 2020, we will have 640 Jamaican high-school students with associate degrees, ready for entry level into the tourism industry,” he said.
He added that the ministry in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), will establish its first-ever Graduate School of Tourism in Montego Bay by 2020.
Bartlett contended the push to undertake the highest level of training in tourism is designed to “enable us to respond and to be nimble in terms of the digital transformation that is taking place in the industry today”.
The JCTI was created to increase access to certification for tertiary-level graduates as well as workers in the hospitality industry, thereby boosting Jamaica’s tourism product.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Minister hailed Sunset at The Palms Resort for what he described as “its enviable record of accomplishments and awards in its 15 years of operation”.
“Looking back over the past 15 years, I am overwhelmed at the impressive list of awards Sunset at the Palms resort has earned, including being rated by TripAdvisor as one of the ‘top ten most romantic resorts in the Caribbean’,” he said.
Bartlett also praised the resort for its high rate of repeat visitors which, he argued, is indicative of the property’s uniqueness and the staff’s dedication to service excellence.
Sunset at the Palms Resort was the first establishment worldwide, to awarded certification for Environmentally, Sustainable Tourism by the United Kingdom-based accreditation body, Green Globe.