The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Catherine A. Afeku, on Thursday called for the strengthening of the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT) to enable it to provide the needed training for industry players.
The school, she said, in its present state could not respond adequately to the training needs of the hospitality and tourism industry since it was facing challenges including weak curriculum, poor marketing strategies, and inadequate technology.
However, Mrs. Afeku said the demand for the industry required a retooled institution that would produce quality human resources to meet the exigencies of the industry.
The Minister said this in a speech read on her behalf at a stakeholders’ workshop held in Accra to seek support of the hospitality and tourism industry players on the recent renaming, redefining and marketing of HOTCATT into the School of Tourism and Hospitality.
HOTCATT was initially designed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to train all categories of personnel to work in the hotel, catering, tour and travel operations.
Mrs. Afeku noted that the establishment of HOTCATT was done in collaboration with the Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding and technical assistance from the ILO.
She explained that HOTCATT was also intended to upgrade the skills and competences of personnel in the hotel and catering sector to help transform Ghana into a competitive tourism destination.
It was as a result of those challenges that there were discussions, information exchange and feedback from stakeholders to help rebrand, redefine and rename the institution as ‘School of Tourism and Hospitality,’ Mrs Afeku said.
She said even though changing the institution’s name required a lot of expenses and the fear of resistance from stakeholders, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.
This included helping to deal with bad publicity, stale image as well as giving a sense of new direction.
Mrs. Afeku urged all industry players with technical and professional knowledge to provide productive input that would assist the Ministry to rebrand and make the requisite impact with the new name.
She expressed the hope that the School of Tourism and Hospitality would become an internationally recognised centre of excellence.
The Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, who chaired the event, said Ghana had a growing tourism industry into which the Ministry was injecting new energy.
HOTCATT, he said, was playing a critical role in training the industry players in terms of competencies and skills.
Mr. Lansgmagne said for tourists to get real satisfaction there should be professionals who would provide such services to them; thus HOTCATT would be used as that institution to produce the professionals towards meeting international standards.