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New Program Works to Make Sure Taxi and Tour Operators Know Their V.I. Stuff

Dec. 11, 2006 — Seventeen graduates recently became the first to successfully complete the new certification program for the taxi and tour industry, receiving their certificates in a ceremony Sunday evening at the Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
The program was developed by the University of the Virgin Islands' Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning (UVICELL) Center, according to a UVI news release.
"It was an excellent and informative program," said graduate Bruce Flamon. "Coming from Chicago, I learned a lot of history and was able to get the facts first hand. We're already putting the information we learned in class to work."
The aim of the program is to enhance visitors' experiences and ensure that taxi and tour operators impart accurate information about the history and culture of the islands, the news release said.
To receive certification, graduates attended nightly classes on customer service, V.I. history and culture, points of interest and presentation skills. In addition they had to pass a 100-question written exam and put the presentation skills acquired in class to use in an oral exam.
"If you're going to do tours and serve as ambassadors for the Virgin Islands, then this course is a must," said graduate Olando Donadelle. "Other islands are getting in gear with their plans for tourism. We have to make a conscious effort to improve the taxi and tour industry."
Graduates receiving certification Sunday evening included: Allembert Armitage, Walter Blackman, Dale Blyden, Rupert Connor, Olando Donadelle, Tahir Donadelle, Bruce Flamon, Oliver Fredericks, Davis Gumbs, Roy Kentish, Burlie Montoute, Alvin Raymond, Ronald Roberts, Douglas Samuel, Terrance Todman, Gloria Wilson and David Williams.
The graduates have already come together to form the Certified Tour Guide Association. The group hopes to work with the Department of Tourism and the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association to provide links to the newly formed association's website. The site will serve as a portal to let visitors know there is a group of professional tour operators they can rely on, the news release said.
Sponsors of the event included the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, Cool Signs, the Caribbean Hotel Association, the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association and the Department of Tourism.
For more information on the Taxi Certification Program or UVICELL, call 693-1100 or click here.
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