As Guyana experiences steadfast economic growth, the tourism sector is providing correlative transformative programmes as more foreigners flock the country. In response, the GTA has tailored a number of programmes to capitalise on this influx of visitors, and upskill Guyanese, equally.
Three thousand Guyanese are being targeted by the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) to undergo training to dispense the quality of service expected by tourists. Some 700 persons have already undergone training in the various programmes available.
GTA’s Deputy Director, Kamrul Baksh in an interview with DPI on Tuesday, encouraged Guyanese to take advantage of the training programmes.
“We are well on target to achieve that 3,000. There are various training programmes that the Guyana Tourism Authority, and its stakeholders host for the sector at large … the private sector, communities, as well as youths and other persons who are interested in the tourism programmes.”
He further highlighted a plethora of programmes offered that are fundamental to the delivery of quality service.
In 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, GTA focused heavily on hygiene and sanitation training for hotels, lodges, resorts, and restaurants and bars. On the road to recovery the agency realised that it was important to ensure stakeholders were prepared and equipped to meet travellers’ needs.
This shifted the focus to hospitality training and service delivery. These programmes underpin the hospitality business assuring tourists a full experience of Guyana’s culture and its tourist destinations.
For the first time ever, the agency conducted a wilderness responder programme which consists of a number of components in jungle survival. This was done under the first aid and CPR safety training programme geared at ensuring tour guides, and operators are equipped with the skills to combat any accident or adversity that might occur during a tour or nature trip.
Similar in nature is the guiding programme honed to enhance the traveller’s experience through interpretation and storytelling.
Mixology training is another programme added this year. Mixology is the skill of mixing various drinks and ingredients to create a cocktail. Baksh noted that following the conclusion of the Agri-expo and forum, the programme was conceptualised from tremendous demand received.
“People clamour for this, and a big part of it is how you mix the drink, how you serve it, it is how you explain it, and since we did our booth at the Agri-expo and forum there has been a tremendous demand for this training because we had one of the best mixologists on site doing cocktails and mocktails utilising local ingredients so that was the main draw,” he said.
As a result, GTA recently concluded training in mixology at the Aruwai Resort and in Region Five. The agency has also reached out to corporate Guyana to facilitate training. The programme will be conducted in every region to train bartenders and mixologists with the skills to utilise local ingredients, provide quality drinks and service to ensure tourists and citizens have a memorable experience.
Culinary training is another programme being offered to hone the skills of chefs while amplifying local dining experiences.
Baksh noted that, “It is all about the way you present it, and we are utilising and encouraging persons to use local ingredients. It is the way you use the ingredients, and we have been doing a lot of training in culinary because persons want to go and have a dining experience. Guyana restaurant week is coming up at the end of this week, of course again we are going to see a lot of participating restaurants utilising the experience and this is very, very important for us.”
Meanwhile, GTA will soon be launching a new curriculum. The agency has been developing eight new modules to meet the demands in the tourism industry. These include housekeeping, financial management, food and beverage, customer service and events management training.
The training programmes are being rolled out countrywide, and interested persons can visit GTA’s website to take advantage of them.