Sod turned for US$7.2M Hospitality training institute at Port Mourant

The sod has been turned to begin construction on the US$7.2 million Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute at Port Mourant, Berbice, Region 6 (East Berbice-Corentyne), as the government moves to cultivate a world-class tourism sector.

This facility is the first of its kind in Guyana. It is set to provide hands-on training in a diverse range of areas within the services sector, preparing persons for careers in hotels, and restaurants among other related industries.

The sod was turned on Friday for the construction of the Hospitality and Tourism Institute at Port Mourant

This level of training will empower locals with the necessary skills to operate at international industry standards.

The project was brought to fruition through an alliance between the ministries of Finance, Tourism and Education, along with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, delivered the feature remarks at the sod-turning ceremony on Friday, where he highlighted that the project was conceptualised by the pre-2015 PPP/C government, but languished in the hands of the APNU+AFC government and did not materialise.

Therefore, it is doubly commendable, the PM said, that the much-needed institute is finally being built.

He said that the tourism sector continues to exemplify unwavering resilience, as the country is seeing an influx of visitors, with arrival numbers soaring.

To nurture this growth, the senior government official emphasised that it is critical that the level of hospitality is top-class.

“We have to develop continuous cohorts of trained hospitality workers to assume the management of this sector and to provide the multiplicity of services required in this sector. Training individuals to work in the local hospitality and tourism sector is therefore a vital requirement in building up our hospitality and tourism sector to world-class standards,” PM Phillips said.

A section of the gathering at the sod turning ceremony for the Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute at Port Mourant

According to the prime minister, a well-trained workforce significantly enhances the quality of service, and the benefits will be twofold.

“Investing in training at all echelons of the sector ensures that locals can secure employment opportunities within their region, fostering improved well-being for all. In the hospitality and tourism sector, customer satisfaction is the key to success. By training personnel to excel in customer service, communication and problem solving, businesses can ensure that visitors have memorable and enjoyable experiences, encouraging them to return and recommend the destination to others,” he explained.

In his remarks, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh, said that Guyana’s physical transformation and modernization must be matched by the requisite quality of service.

Dr Singh expressed that the aim is to merge poignant aspects of Guyanese culture with world-class service, treating both locals and tourists to a culturally diverse blend that distinguishes Guyana as a prime tourism hub.

“Chefs today are international celebrities. We want to create Guyanese chefs who are celebrities, and this hospitality and tourism training institute has the potential to do just that,” he explained, highlighting the food service industry as one in which this goal will be implemented.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, said the establishment of this institute is an essential step in expanding the technical skills of the hospitality sector, allowing citizens to seize the opportunities that have been made available through the numerous investments.

“Never before in our country’s history have we seen this amount of concentrated investment in the tourism and hospitality sector. This speaks to international investors, savvy investors who have assessed our government, done their feasibility studies, and said that this country is safe for investment…the objective is to ensure that the necessary skills to manage the rapidly expanding and evolving sector are available right here in Guyana,” the minister told those gathered.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond

The climate-resilient and state-of-the-art facility will be built by KARES Engineering Inc., and is expected to be completed in 2026.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag, also delivered remarks at the ceremony, saying that the institute is a symbol of progress, and a testament to the government’s commitment to excellence and the future development of the country. President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Kamrul Baksh, Member of Parliament and Region Five Representative Faizal Jafferally, Member of Parliament, Vishwa Mahadeo, Member of Parliament, Dharamkumar Seeraj, Regional Vice Chairman, Zamal Hussain, Regional Executive Officer, Narindra Persaud, and Deputy Regional Executive Officer, Mary Samaroo, members of the diplomatic corps and other officials were present at the ceremony.

The sod was turned on Friday for the construction of the Hospitality and Tourism Institute at Port Mourant

COVID-19 Notice: Due to the pandemic some consular services will be conducted by registered mail until further notice. Learn more