CTO Challenge Antigua & Barbuda Tourism stakeholders to take new approach

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism stakeholders have been challenged to take a new approach to human resource development, in the interest of making the country a truly world class destination.

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace was in Antigua yesterday, addressing delegates at the National Tourism Conference. The conference formed part of the National Tourism Week celebrations.

Vanderpool-Wallace challenged participants to think of human resource development in unconventional ways.

“I think one of the things that we forget in the tourism sector is that, unlike in the agricultural or industrial sectors, tourism really happens between the interaction of a visitor and the local person. So, that local person really makes or breaks tourism to a much greater degree than we like to acknowledge,” he told the Antigua Sun.

The CTO secretary-general said that for a long time the Caribbean tourism industry failed to recognize that the skills set needed in local tourism employees may be completely different from the skill sets required in a more industrialized operation. Thus, he said, emphasis was placed on academic qualifications above valuable personality traits.

A further problem highlighted was the practice of promoting excellent tourism workers into positions in which they no longer have contact with the visitors and their people skills are not being put to use to the benefit of the industry.

Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace said that a complicated challenge for industry stakeholders is figuring out how to reward such workers in ways that still allow them to provide the services for which they have been recognized.

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