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Crackdown on discourtesy by govt employees coming- Tourism Minister

Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes

Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes says employees in the public service will be targeted for specialised training to improve the quality of their interaction with the public.

The initiative is part of the new administration’s push to enhance Guyana’s brand of tourism.

In fact, Hughes says that training of such personnel will be made a priority as she works toward determining the Ministry’s policy direction for the next five years. This is part of her plan to improve “the quality of services across the board.”

“It’s not just for the visitors coming…we need to do it for ourselves as Guyanese. We’ve got to get to the level where we can go to a government agency, to a store and you are treated with respect, as somebody that is coming to spend and invest,” Hughes told Demerara Waves Online News during a recent interview.

Over the years Guyanese have lamented the way they have been treated by personnel at various government agencies when they attempt to solicit various services. While personnel are trained at intervals in an effort to improve efficiency in the execution of the technical aspects of jobs, skills relative to effective interface with the public has suffered.

But, Hughes says that “a visitor that comes to Guyana wants to go to an agency, to a shop or a store or an artisan that is going to smile, that is going to welcome them, that is going to treat them well.”

And, where locals are concerned, the minister believes that “every Guyanese is a potential tourist, and therefore the kind of recognition that we want to give a Guyanese in their own country is equally as important, in fact maybe more important that somebody that is coming from overseas.”

Hughes believes that the much touted Hospitality School will help effect the change in the public service she is looking to see. The idea for a Hospitality School was introduced by former acting Tourism Minister, Irfaan Ali. Though the school was still in the conceptualisation stage, Ali had determined that it would have been situated at the University of Guyana’s campus at Turkeyen.

Hughes has opted to adopt the idea for the school into her own plans for advancing Guyana’s tourism sector.

Head of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ramesh Persaud,  said Tuesday that Hughes’ plan “would be a very good initiative,” and would be “appreciated and welcomed.”