By Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, July 13, GNA – The Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MoTAC) has re-opened the Hotel, Catering & Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT), an Educational Establishment in Accra to provide students with capacity building experience and skills in the Tourism, Hospitality and Catering sectors.
The Institute was re-opened to offer courses in Front Office Skills, Food and Beverage Service, House Keeping Skills, Travel and Tourism, Tour Guiding, and Industry Leadership.
Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture addressing the media at the event, encouraged entities in the hospitality, catering and tourism industry to enrol their staff for refresher courses at a discount, adding that, since they pay levies, they should benefit from it.
She noted that the Sector has discussed with institutions in the industry about enrolling their staff at the Institute, and they accepted the recommendation.
“The levy is protected by Act 817 of the Tourism Act and it enjoins all hospitality industries to pay one per cent of their profit. We are ensuring that all hospitable institutions, especially the newly established ones that have not been registered get registered”, she said.
Mrs Abelema Afeku said the reopening and revamping of the school was to improve the skills of the actors in the industry to put Ghana on the world tourism map and be recognised.
She said: “We have everything from hotels to beaches, to floral, culture and festivals but what we lack is excellent customer service; therefore the school is coming in to meet that acute need and we are very confident that within six to 12 weeks, we would have trained people with professional customer care deliveries.
The Minister stressed that the Institution is going to provide quality training and skills in a manner that if one visits a hotel, the attitude and demeanour of a staff should be able to tell the visitor instantly that the staff is a HOTCATT trainee because he or she has come out with a modicum of professional skills in the industry.
“They also need to have knowledge about the tourist sites in the country. Supposing a visitor asks you, what can I do in Accra tonight? And you say I don’t know, you’ve already lost the customer. Also one’s whole body language should be welcoming”, she noted.
Madam Jenny Adade, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HOTCATT speaking at the event said the vision of the Institute is to become the chosen leading professional skills training institute on the African Continent.
She said the minimum entry qualification into the Institute are Senior High School certificate holders, Diploma Certificate Holders, Industry Workers and individuals who want to change their careers.
Madam Adade said there would be compulsory areas such as Professional Appearance or Grooming, Service Excellence and Complaint Handling, adding that, emphasis would be placed on practical application for effective transferred learning, using various media in order to appeal to the different learning styles of students.
The Institute has a nine member Board made up of Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi, Deputy Minister of MoTAC as Chairman; Mr Alex Kofi Agyekum, Member of Parliament (MP) for Mpohor Constituency; Mr Manish Nambiar, General Manager of Kempinski Hotel; Mr Ato Panford, MP for Shama Constituency; and Madam Jenny Adade of HOTCATT.
Other members of the Board are Okatakyie Nana Anim I, Sanaahene of Ati Amanfrom; Mr Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority; Mr Frank Apeagyei, Advisor to MoTAC; and Madam Vida Sunkwa-Mills, Member of Advisory Board, HOTCATT.
HOTCATT was initially designed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to train all categories and levels of personnel employed to work in Hotels, Catering Institutes and the Travel and Tour Operations.
The Government of Ghana and the United Nations Development Programme are providing funding, with technical assistance from the International Labour Organisation. It was established in 1991.