MIAMI - Building on the success of its 2019 training initiatives, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) is planning to expand its hospitality training programs and scholarship support in the Caribbean this year.
On the heels of a strong outcome at the annual New York Times Travel Show fundraising drive, for which CHTA member hotels and resorts generously donated stays for auction, CHTAEF officials report that they are getting ready to roll out professional development and training programs and award scholarships for current and future tourism professionals.
Reflecting on its activities last year, CHTAEF Chairperson Karolin Troubetzkoy reported that the foundation reached more than 750 hospitality professionals in Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, and Tobago through its on-island training courses.
"The feedback from our colleagues who participated in these trainings was phenomenal, and we look forward to delivering more training in other destinations in 2020," Troubetzkoy said, doffing her cap to long-time sponsors Virgin Holidays and Interval International for prioritizing Caribbean hospitality education and training with their generous support of both the training and the scholarship programs.
In 2018, CHTAEF's board of trustees decided to offer more training opportunities in the region in support of 33 national hotel and tourism associations. The decision to go beyond awarding individual scholarships came with the realization that on-island training would reach more Caribbean tourism industry professionals and assist them in adapting to the ever-changing needs and expectations of global travelers.
Following the launch of a pilot program in 2018 and the subsequent on-island training delivered throughout 2019, property managers reported that they noticed changes in the way many of their team members interacted with guests, displaying more empathy and compassion, which resulted in increased satisfaction scores from visitors.
In 2019, CHTAEF also awarded 20 scholarships to students from Anguilla, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Troubetzkoy noted that scholarship benefactors are gaining hospitality knowledge, training and skills at some of the most prestigious institutions around the globe, including College of Mount Saint Vincent, Cornell University, The Culinary Institute of America, Edinburgh Napier University, Johnson & Wales University, Les Roches, Lynn University, Monroe College, University of Aruba, University of the Virgin Islands, University of the West Indies, and Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School.
One of CHTAEF's 2019 highlights was inking a partnership with the highly regarded Les Roches Global Hospitality Education in Switzerland, allowing deserving Caribbean students to be trained at the elite institution. "Our partnership with Les Roches presents an excellent opportunity for Caribbean nationals to receive a highly desirable hospitality business degree, gain an entrepreneurial mindset and a global outlook in the process," Troubetzkoy said, adding that as the scholarship recipients grow and develop, they become "future ambassadors" for the Caribbean hospitality industry.
She concluded by expressing her thanks to CHTA member hotels and partners for their donations to assist with hurricane relief efforts in the northern Bahamas.