The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has welcomed the new government-funded initiative aimed at breathing new life into the tourism sector, saying members will now have to identify what are the areas most needed for staff to be trained in.
On Tuesday, Governor General Dame Sandra Mason announced in a Throne Speech, to mark the reconvening of Parliament, several measures aimed at helping the struggling bread and butter industry.
She said government would be providing some $300 million through the Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) plan to get direct tourism and tourism related services sector workers re-engaged.
The workers will earn 80 per cent of their salaries during this process, and the firms are required to meet certain criteria.
Under this component of the plan, there will be substantial upskilling of workers in the sector in areas needed for their specific jobs as well as soft skills “that will be provided through citizenship education”.
In an almost immediate reaction, Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Geoffrey Roach told Barbados TODAY that the interest from hotel members will now have to be determined.
“The timing of hotels of hotels benefiting from the programme will be determined by the submissions of applications by hotel members themselves,” he said.
To facilitate this, he said, they would have to await details now on the submission of applications process, adding that given work that has already gone into the preparation “we are expecting to receive that in short order”.
“With regard to the re-engagement of staff and the training for staff, the members will now have to take some time to map their training plans and reengagement plans,” he said.
The tourism industry official said one of the planks in the process at this point is to identify the type of training needed so that the workers and the firms could be in line with the highest standards.
“So it is going to be very important that those training plans also identify the types of training so that we can work with the relevant agencies, principally the NTI [National Training Initiative], to ensure that the types of training programmes that are required are available,” said Roach. ([email protected])