Tourism Minister regards new hospitality improvement initiative as exceptional
NIA Charlestown Nevis – Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Mark Brantley welcomed the Hospitality Assured programme to Nevis, during a brief launching ceremony at the Oualie Beach Resort Conference Room on May 12, 2014.
While delivering remarks at the launch of the pilot programme sponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the NIA, Mr. Brantley stated that the NIA supported the initiative, which would provide training and certification for tourism-based businesses on Nevis.
“This programme has the full backing of the Nevis Island Administration and the Ministry of Tourism. We think it is an exceptional initiative and one that we are very proud to associate ourselves with…
“We embrace this programme. We think that it is a programme that can only assist us in enhancing the service that we provide… I congratulate the pilot properties that are participating. They themselves are really known for good service and so, the hope would be that through this training, that they would be even better equipped to provide that service,” he said.
Mr. Brantley expressed hope that the pilot project would filter down to other areas of the tourism industry, particularly as Nevis had taken the lead in implementing the programme.
“It is my hope that what we are seeing today, pilot as it is, that this will become a contagion, if you will, throughout the industry here and that our restaurants, our bars, our hotels that they will all come on board and once we can have that stamp of approval, that this is a property that has satisfied the Hospitality Assured programme, I think that becomes a standard bearer for the region…
“So I am very, very excited about this. I am very happy that Nevis is taking the lead and the properties have come forward,” he said.
The Tourism Minister noted that through the programme, Nevis would receive international recognition for its tourism product.
“They say tourism is about sun, sea and sand. Well it used to be. Now I hear sun, sea, sand, safety, security and service… For us service is critical to what we do and to get some stamp of approval that is internationally-recognized for our properties, for our product, is a critical part of what we are seeking to achieve here on Nevis,” he said.
Meantime, Policy and Regulations Officer in the Ministry of Tourism John Hanley, who is the programme’s coordinator, gave some insight into the certification programme.
“Hospitality Assured is a programme that recognizes excellence in the service environment which means meeting the expectation of a range of customers on a consistent and regular basis. Hospitality Assured is an industry standard that promotes and rewards the highest levels of business and service excellence for organisations in the hospitality industry.
“As a specification for business and service and excellence hospitality, Hospitality Assured is championed by the Institute of Hospitality and supported by the British Hospitality Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Hospitality Assured is an industry standard which comprises nine key steps and a total of 44 measurable criteria. HA provides internationally recognized certification which makes certified entities more marketable, operationally-sound and more capable of delivering on their customer promise,” he explained.
According to Hanley, the one-week session is the first phase of the Hospitality Assured programme in Nevis and by extension, in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, with joint sponsorship of about 75 percent by the CTO and the OAS and the remainder by the Nevis Island Administration.
The first tourism-based businesses which took part in the first phase of the programme on Nevis are Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Oualie Beach Resort and Nelson Spring Beach Resort. The facilitator is Hugh Wint, General Manager of the Runway Bay HEART Hotel and Training Institute in Jamaica. He was appointed by the CTO as Advisor to the Hospitality Assured programme in Nevis.
Another phase of the HA programme is scheduled for one week in July 2014.