Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Andrew Cox,??delivering the??address to officially launch the 26th Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Week.
(N. Hutchinson/BGIS)

This island’s tourism workers have been lauded for their invaluable contribution to this country’s development.

The accolades were made by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Andrew Cox, as he delivered the feature address to officially launch the 26th Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Week, yesterday.?? The ceremony was held at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael under the theme Tourism Workers Contributing in the Economic Crisis.??

Mr. Cox also acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority (BHTA) in developing the industry.?? He noted that 2011 has shown promise thus far, with January 1 to May 30 boasting the arrival of 250 000 stay-over visitors; a marked increase from 2010. Mr. Cox observed that improvements in the sector were not limited to tourist arrivals, however, and stated that the industry’s workers needed to remain in touch with their craft, since "in these rapidly changing times, it is important to be trained and retrained".?? He made it clear that tourism affected us all, suggesting that "not only do we have to play our part, [but] we have to play it well".??

BHTA President, Colin Jordan also focused on the importance of employees within the sector, stating that "we believe, like your theme for this year [suggests], that tourism workers have contributed during the economic crisis and have contributed to the economy".

He expressed appreciation for to the commitment shown by hotel workers, even in a national emergency, as was seen during last year’s Tropical Storm Tomas, declaring "I’m happy that we have a cadre of workers who, without prompting from managers, see it as their responsibility to get to their workplaces…We are really thankful for your commitment to the task of ensuring that our visitors feel welcome, even when we have challenges…"

Concerning the importance of training, Mr. Jordan said: ??"What we’ve done over the past year, we’ve had what we formally call a training committee; and we have come to the conclusion that the word ???training’ sometimes gets lost…we have made a decision to locate training under the ambit of business excellence," the BHTA President added, noting that the name change was in an effort to alter the perception of the crucial role training plays for both employees and employers.

In the area of cooperation, BTA President, David Rice, observed that "we have to look at [an employee] as a partner, not just a worker" and encouraged those in the private sector to see the Barbados Workers Union not as an adversary but an ally.??

During the ceremony, awards were presented to members of the national Taste of the Caribbean team, who medalled in multiple categories during this year’s competition.?? Special awards were given to team captain and Chef of the Year, Mitchell Husbands; and a posthumous one was given in honour of the work of former BWU member, Carolyn "Tassa" Forde.


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