The lack of diversity is an aspect of tourism that the hospitality industry needs to end, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds has said.
To loud applause from the audience at the launch of a pilot course in diversity training for hospitality workers, the Minister suggested Barbados must distinguish itself as an open and inclusive destination. But he did not hint of any policy directions from his Ministry to push for diversity.
“This country cannot easily sit by and watch a lack of diversity or discrimination take place in any form or in any fashion. I think it is very important that Barbados stands up and says to the rest of the world that all are welcomed and none will be discriminated against because the whole world has a right to enjoy tourism, hassle-free travel and all the other things that we tend to take for granted,” said the Minister of Tourism to loud cheers.
Symmonds was speaking at the launch of the pilot project Fresh Hospitality Training – Development Days, hosted by Virgin Holidays and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism
Association (CHTA) Education Foundation on Thursday at Copacabana.
“Whether we are talking about persons with disabilities, whether we are talking about person’s sexual orientation, gender, whatever it is . . . . I want Barbados to be a place which is open for business with all, which is accommodating to all and is extending an opportunity to participate,” he added.
Managing Director of Virgin Holidays Joe Thompson said that training sought to meet the evolving modern needs of travellers.
“Training recognizes that needs of customers are changing, leisure time is becoming ever more precious and we are seeing more and more diverse groups of travellers travelling and we think that regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, family circumstances, sexual orientation, and disability everyone should have the ability to experience what travel has to offer and we will be focusing on that in this training,” he added.
The project which seeks to provide guest care and diversity training for over 110 hotel employees and tourism students was conceptualized with the intent to equip the tourism industry with improved service skills to take their careers to another level.
Having partnered with the CHTA Education Foundation since 2005, Virgin Holidays has also led a successful education scholarship programme for Caribbean hospitality professionals, with a record of 26 scholarship winners thus far.
The trial project titled Development Days which will commence on October 15 at the PomMarine Hotel and Hospitality Training Institute and is to be rolled out in other Caribbean destinations in 2019.