The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has facilitated a four-day training session in conversational Spanish for staff at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri in order to provide more enhanced services to tourists.
About 30 persons participated in each session, which started on May 9, a report from the Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA) said. The training entailed three daily sessions, each lasting about two hours, and targeted different individuals from the various departments to complement their work shifts.
The first sessions were held with customer service representatives, taxi drivers, red cap porters, customs and immigration officers, airlines counter staff and aviation security officers. The 220 staff members who interact directly with passengers were trained in basic Spanish as part of the CJIA’s mandate to offer the best quality service to all visitors and to reduce the processing time passengers spend at the Customs and Immigration Department.
The sessions were conducted by Gemma Wenner, who is in Guyana with her husband who is stationed here for three years at the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank. She is an online professor at several universities and is conducting the course free of cost to the GTA. Wenner said while Guyana is a very hospitable country it faces some disadvantages in terms of language barriers.
GTA Director Indranauth Haralsingh who attended the final training session said the initiative will enhance the staff’s ability to conduct their jobs. He said this group is the largest every trained via the GTA and he urged the participants to practice what they learned.
“We have to bridge the language barrier, after all we are a customer service corporation and the passengers are our first priority, the training could not have come at a better time now that Venezuelan airline, CONVIASA, is already operating in Guyana and COPA – a Panamanian airline – will begin its operations at Timehri in July 2014,” he said. Haralsingh also announced that plans are in train to teach frontline staff in Lethem basic Portu-guese and those at Moleson Creek, Dutch and Portuguese. The sessions are expected to start in about two months.
Additionally, in the area of capacity building, 29 persons from 23 hotels recently graduated from First Aid training that was facilitated by the Guyana Red Cross Society through the GTA. Overall, the GTA expects to train 800 persons in different aspects of hospitality management by the end of the year.