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KINGSTON, Jamaica; September 26, 2018: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has officially launched the Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme (HTMP). The HTMP is the first of its kind certification programme for high schools developed by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and will allow students to gain entry-level qualification in tourism.
Speaking at the handover of HTMP books to students and teachers, at the official launch at Spot Valley High on Monday (September 24), Minister Bartlett explained that “The objective of providing skills training and enabling certification of competence is one of the basic and fundamental development that must happen in ensuring the building of the human capital within our country and specifically tourism. This has become even more necessary as the sector experiences exponential growth,
Fifty years ago, 400 thousand people visited Jamaica and spent USD87million, last year, 4.3million people visited the island and spent USD3Billion. In the same period, fifty years ago, we employed 9,000 people and this year up to August we employed 120,000 people directly.”
The Ministry of Tourism provided $100 million to launch the HTMP and the initiative is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. The programme will be delivered in conjunction with colleges participating in the Centre of Occupational Studies (COS) Programme, which facilitates technical training and certification at the college level.
Minister Bartlett added, “Tourism is now a profession which requires training. The business of the industry is always about giving higher service and higher value to the visitor so in order to do that we have to equip you with higher levels of skills to have more knowledge, more information and be able to apply the information in a more creative and valuable way,
We are doing this in two folds, training our high school students through this HTMP and also building the professional cadre in the industry and by providing a pathway to professionalism for those who are currently working in the industry through the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation.”
The Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI) was born out of Vision 2030’s Tourism Sector Development Plan, which calls for the development of a training institution focused on developing a management cadre with the skills, knowledge and motivation required by tourism entities. It will facilitate the certification and licensure of Jamaicans working in tourism as well as facilitate innovation in tourism. In April this year, there were over 150 graduates who acquired Associate Degrees in Customer Service, and gained AHLEI Certification, NVQJ Certification, and Customer Service Industry Association recognition.
“What we are doing is part of our commitment to the overall human capital development in the tourism industry so we can redefine the labour market arrangements so tourism workers can demand more pay and work anywhere in the world,
We are also going to make it a requirement that all hotels and key providers of tourism services not only recognize the graduates and their qualification but enable access to all of them within at least the first five years so that we can guarantee no second guessing of the quality and the integrity of the experience that we are marketing globally,” Minister Bartlett concluded.