A five days training of trainer has been launched by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and its implementing agency, the National Tourist Board (NTB) with support from the Sustainable Tourism Development and Promotion Project (STDPP) under the Enhance Integrated Framework (EIF) Tier 2 and Government Counterpart Funding.

The launching was held at the Country Lodge Hotel Hall in Freetown which attracted fifty selected participants from the public and private sectors who will in turn transfers the knowledge gained to their various institutions.

Fergus Maclaren and Wayne Smith students of the Ted Rogers School of Tourism Management in Canada facilitated the training workshop.

The training will be focusing on different topics which include, introducing tourism-why people travel, sustainable and triple bottom line, sales system and marketing, delivering quality services, and performance metrics and reviews.

The Human Resource and Admin Manager of the NTB, Cyrillia Wilson on behalf of the General Manager of the NTB who also manages the EIF Project, Fatmata Hamid Carew noted that despite the great opportunities in the sector, it continues to suffer from an acute human resource capacity limitation at all levels of the demand.

She continued that to address this challenge the Ministry and the Board with support from the STDPP, EIF Tier 2 undertook a training needs assessment and training plan for the sector which revealed a significant gap in the supply and demand needs of the sector and reiterate the need for overhauling of the curriculum for the sector and the need to build the education infrastructure and capacity for the delivery of education in tourism and hospitality.

She also indicated that they have with support from the EIF developed the Integrated Tourism Curriculum that speaks to all facets of the tourism industry and is expected to address issues related to the human resource capacity gaps including the ability of tourism training institutions to support both formal, informal, public and private education and training needs in Sierra Leone.

She encouraged participants to exchange experiences and work together and get more knowledge, not only for the certificate but as tourism trainers that will speak to the rebirth of their tourism training institutions in Sierra Leone.

Wayne Smith one of the trainers intimated that the training comprises great leaders who will work as mentors and take the knowledge acquired to their various institutions. He stated that the training will be sustained in a way that they are making good connections with the individuals, adding that the service and the people need to have a good connection with their guests.

Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt, while launching the training of trainers workshop maintained that the training is a strategic step towards building the capacity of sector workers, hence tourism is about service delivery and ensuring the guests get the best experience.

“You can have beautiful places with world-class facilities but if the trained personnel is lacking the guests cannot understand the products and enjoy the services”, she said.

As a result of linking effective service delivery and building the tourism infrastructure, they decided to embark on human resources capacity building and review of the curriculum supported by the EIF. She pointed out that the training is important as it resonates with President Bio’s vision to make tourism a growth sector.

She concluded by thanking Ted Rogers University for working with them on this and the EIF for their continued support of the sector, while also encouraging participants to treat the training with utmost seriousness.