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Free Hospitality Training for Industry Personnel

Aug. 14, 2006 – St. Thomas has been selected as one of six Caribbean destinations for a new hospitality training program to be offered in four free sessions later this month.
"Total Service: The USVI is Quality" is a new training methodology designed to motivate those in the tourism and hospitality industry. It is sponsored by the Caribbean hotel Association, the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association and American Express.
Though hospitality programs are nothing new to the territory – some programs go back to 1983; and the "Excellence Together" program has been available for some time – the new courses will encompass more aspects of the industry.
Maria Elisa Couste said, "We are working with partners in government agencies where the opportunity to teach reaches greater numbers." Couste is a trainer from Julio Sancci & Associates, the company that helped develop the program for American Express.
Couste spoke with three other representatives at a press conference last week. The program stresses 10 aspects of total service: total satisfaction; team work; paradigmatic leadership; multidirectional communication; being actively ahead of needs; effective handling of conflicts; professional commitment; empathetic thinking; positive attitude; and total service culture.
Canika George-John, marketing manager of the Hotel Association, said government agencies have been made aware of the program. "We have met and presented the program to Monique Hodge of the Tourism Department and Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone's office."
Asked if the taxi industry would be involved, George-John said it would. She also mentioned a program being conducted at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Debra Stevens, UVI program manager of CELL, the Community Engagement and Learning Center, said Monday that she had spoken with the group. "We talked about coordinating our taxi driver certification program at a meeting recently. We discussed collaborating our efforts. Our course starts in mid-October, and it is geared toward tourism. Our next meeting is Sept. 7 at the CELL office on campus at 4 p.m. for anyone interested."
The "Total Service" free program has about 50 slots left, and will be offered Aug. 28 and 29 at Wyndham Sugar Bay Hotel. The first session on the morning of Aug. 28 will be a "train the trainer" course. George-John said about 15 people have already been selected to attend. Those 15 in conjunction with the Hotel Association will offer continuing training, possibly with the UVI program.
Although the program is free for tourism professionals – from busboys and wait staff to management staff – space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Persons who participate in the program will receive a Total Service Handbook, as a reference instrument covering the program and exercises for participants to work with the material the course has covered.
Call the Hotel Association at 774-6835 for more information.

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