Tourism chamber steps up battle against poor customer care

The Tourism Chamber has devised means to end poor customer care that has beset the burgeoning tourism industry, with anticipation that the vice would be curbed by next year. The chamber, which recently finalised its strategic plan to revamp the industry now seeks to fund and equip leisure and hospitality training institutions.
Gorilla Nest in Musanze District. The New Times / File
Gorilla Nest in Musanze District. The New Times / File

The Tourism Chamber has devised means to end poor customer care that has beset the burgeoning tourism industry, with anticipation that the vice would be curbed by next year.

The chamber, which recently finalised its strategic plan to revamp the industry now seeks to fund and equip leisure and hospitality training institutions.

Bart Gasana, the first vice chairman at the Tourism Chamber is optimistic that building the capacity of training institutions to boost the number of professional personnel in the sector is an affirmative move to stump out poor customer care.

The Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) Report 2011, ranked Rwanda’s tourism industry last in customer care within the region despite the country emerging as a top tourism destination.

Experts believe that the move will also help the industry reach its US$216m target this year from US$200m in 2010.

“The institutions play a pivotal role in the areas of customer care. So we have to put a lot of emphasis if we want to achieve it (good customer care),” Gasana said

Gasana added that solicited funds would help the institutions to fill gaps in equipment and capacity building.

“We are even asking that is is mandatory for hotels to take up interns from these institutions so that they can have hands-on-skills in the industry,” he said, adding that hotels often overlooked interns and employees from institutions around the country.

According to Lisa Martilotta, the Director of Akilah Institute for Women, training institutions are set to develop a framework to boost the industry to international standards.

The institutions formed the Hospitality and Tourism Training Institutions Association of  Rwanda under the aegis of the Tourism Chamber to forge a public- private partnership between institutions, private and the public sector to address a shortage of skilled labour in the industry and enhance customer relations.

“We want to see our economy shift from agrarian (agricultural based) to service based and this is achievable if we are able to produce quality service providers,” she said.

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