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This Blind Spot is Limiting Caribbean Tourism Potential

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (2 Nov. 2018) – A secret to unlock the full potential of Caribbean tourism may be hidden in plain sight. That is according to Tara Tvedt-Pearson, a certified strengths coach at Gallup, who will present a solution at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference in the Cayman Islands from 28-30 November, 2018.

“Our innate talents and strengths represent our most direct path to our success. The problem, however, is that most people can’t accurately identify their own strengths and therefore can’t intentionally use them,” said Tvedt-Pearson.

The message will come as an integral component of the conference theme, ‘Building a Resilient, High-performing & Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce for Global Competitiveness’. Tvedt-Pearson will present a masterclass on ‘Discover Your Strengths, Unlock Your Potential’ on Thursday 29 November.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to people development, most organisations across most cultures are operating from a mindset of weakness fixing. We identify areas of improvement and create annual development improvement plans for our employees even though we hired them for their strengths!” said Tvedt-Pearson.

Tvedt-Pearson has a background in human resources, psychology, and certification in project management which brings an ideal blend and balance to her coaching. Her work focuses on performance and by agreeing on measurements of success upfront, a clear scope and strategy is created for arriving at success.

“To help individuals and organisations worldwide harness the power of strengths, global management consulting company Gallup created the Clifton StrengthsFinder, an assessment that helps people discover and describe their talents. By revealing the ways in which each individual most naturally thinks, feels, and behaves, the assessment can help people identify and build on the areas in which they have the most potential to grow and succeed,” said Tvedt-Pearson.

Participants in the session will have the opportunity to discover their individual innate talents and the contributions they bring to their organisations, as well as understand what impact a strengths-based development approach -a “people solution” – can have to their business and bottom line. As a Gallup certified strengths coach, Tvedt-Pearson regularly helps individuals, leaders, teams, and organisations link their innate talents to specific goals and objectives, facilitate growth and development areas, and boost engagement.

The end goal is building a sustained competitive advantage. “Companies within the tourism sector that focus on measuring and managing employee engagement can withstand tough economic times and gain the competitive advantage that will keep them moving forward,” she said.

The CTO 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference seeks to provide an exciting and educational forum for human resource professionals to gain new knowledge and acquire the necessary skills to help them achieve excellent performance in their organizations. It also discusses pertinent issues impacting on, and relating to the human resource element of tourism in the region; exposes human resource practitioners to good tourism practices in a tourism environment, and provides an opportunity for professional networking.

The conference is sponsored by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Dart, the Cayman Islands-headquartered global organisation whose portfolio of companies include real estate, hospitality, retail, entertainment, finance and biotech

For further details on the conference, including how to register, visit https://www.onecaribbean.org/events-calendar/tourism-hr-conference-2018/. And for a welcome message from minister of tourism Moses Kirkconnell, click here.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, HR Conference

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Brand Specialist says HR can Unlock a Stronger Caribbean Tourism Identity

Managing Director of Blueprint Creative, Barbados, Ron Johnson will deliver masterclass on ‘Branding and HR Sitting in a Tree’ at CTO’s 9th Tourism HR conference in the Cayman Islands from 28-30 November 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 Oct. 2018) – A more globally competitive Caribbean tourism brand and stronger industry await if the power of human resource management is harnessed to enhance branding. That is the key message that Ron Johnson, the managing director of Blueprint Creative, Barbados, will deliver during the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference in the Cayman Islands from 28-30 November, 2018. The conference will be held under the theme ‘Building a Resilient, High-performing and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce for Global Competitiveness’.

Johnson will present a masterclass on ‘Branding and HR Sitting in a Tree’ on Friday 30 November.

“Taking an approach that branding starts on the inside of the organisation – not the outside – and having your branding and HR teams work more closely together, represents an opportunity for Caribbean tourism stakeholders to build stronger brands and stronger businesses, which can lead to Caribbean tourism being more competitive on the world stage,” said Johnson.

Johnson and his team of brand specialists at Blueprint Creative work with chief executives, marketing teams and human resources departments to help solve their brand-related business challenges. He has advised clients in several industries, including energy, banking, insurance, convenience retailing, accounting and security. At the conference he will engage with educators, trainers, human resource managers and consultants, students, Caribbean tourism practitioners, policymakers, tourism development agencies and academicians.

The branding specialist, who describes HR professionals as ‘branding superheroes in disguise’, said it’s important to get the message across at the macro and micro levels.

“The potential gains for tourism include the ability for individual organisations in the industry to build stronger brands and stronger businesses; and collectively, the ability to build a much stronger industry and be able to compete more effectively on the global market,” Johnson said.

He warns that the consequences of not heeding the message could mean falling behind the rest of the world in areas such as branding, human resources, customer experience and overall competitiveness.

In the masterclass at the conference, Johnson will explain why branding must begin internally.

“Even the most clever advertising campaigns can be derailed by disengaged employees delivering poor customer service,” said Johnson. “Companies want customers to love their brands, but that won’t happen unless their employees love the brand first. It can be very dangerous for companies to try to build a strong customer-facing brand when they have a weak employee-facing brand.”

This will be one of two masterclasses at this year’s three-day intensive programme of activities, with the other focusing on unlocking the potential of employees and amplifying performance across the workplace by using a strengths approach.

The CTO’s 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference seeks to provide an exciting and educational forum for human resource professionals to gain new knowledge and acquire the necessary skills to help them achieve excellent performance in their organisations. It also discusses pertinent issues impacting on, and relating to, the human resource element of tourism in the region; exposes human resource practitioners to good tourism practices in a tourism environment, and provides an opportunity for professional networking.

The conference is sponsored by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and Dart, the Cayman Islands-headquartered global organisation whose portfolio of companies include real estate, hospitality, retail, entertainment, finance and biotech

“We believe this conference will help re-energise Caribbean Tourism HR professionals, inspiring them to focus on people initiatives which support an engaged, high performing and resilient workforce,” said Juliet Du Feu, Dart’s senior vice president of human resources.

For further details on the conference, including how to register, visit https://www.onecaribbean.org/events-calendar/tourism-hr-conference-2018/. And for a welcome message from minister of tourism Moses Kirkconnell, click here.

 

About The Cayman Islands

Located 480 miles south of Miami in the vibrant tranquillity of western Caribbean, this trio of tiny islands is a premier destination for discriminating travellers, divers, honeymooners and families. World-renowned for its idyllic beaches and recognised as a sophisticated, diverse and memorable tourist destination, the Cayman Islands offers spectacular recreational opportunities along with warm, impeccable service. To learn more about the Cayman Islands, please go to visitcaymanislands.com or www.divecayman.ky or call your local travel agent.

From large-group trips and business-focused getaways to ultra-luxurious escapes and multi-generational family vacations, the Cayman Islands provides every element needed to keep guests coming back for more. With an abundance of world-class dining options, a host of adventure activities – including snorkelling, diving, jet skiing, caving, and nature trails – and a variety of meeting spaces for groups large and small, the Cayman Islands is well-poised to host any type of traveller or special occasion.

 

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Tourism Human Resource Professionals To Plan Strategies To Build High Performance Workforce

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 July 2018) – When human resource professionals from across the region meet in the Cayman Islands in November for the 9th Tourism Human Resources Conference, they will be challenged to develop effective strategies and plans to build a high performance and motivated workforce.

The 28-30 November conference, organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT), comes at a time when the Caribbean faces increased competition in the global, high-tech, innovation driven industry, and amidst increasing calls for a total rethink of the way tourism leaders engage with the workforce.

“There is an urgent need for a high performance, resilient workforce which is critical for sustainability of the tourism sector in this ever-changing environment,” Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the CTO’s regional human resource development consultant said as planning for the conference intensifies.

Building high performance teams come with challenges, she said, including employees’ unwillingness or lack of motivation to change; low employee productivity and morale; and the scarcity of relevant skills, as well as weak or outdated leadership thinking and styles.

However, Banfield-Bovell said, while technology can help drive efficiency, “the real value in tourism is our human resources – the power of people – and the ability of a well-trained, highly valued, and fairly compensated workforce to transcend beyond process and profit”.

The conference, which has as its theme Building a Resilient, High-Performing and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Workforce For Global Competitiveness, will feature experts in human resources, tourism and labour, including Claudia Coenjaerts, director of the International Labour Organization’s decent work team  and office for the Caribbean, who will deliver the keynote address on, The Future of Work – What will become the New Normal.

The CTO team has been working with the CIDOT to produce a dynamic programme of plenaries, masterclasses, a students’ forum and a tour.

“As Caribbean nations, it is imperative that we make the necessary investments which drive visitation in this globally competitive industry. While these investments often come in the form of property development or increased marketing, it is my belief that the greatest asset any tourism product has is its people,” commented Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands. “The Cayman Islands has continued to develop our local tourism workforce through nationwide customer service training, tertiary education scholarships and the establishment of a vocational certification programme through our School of Hospitality Studies. We are proud to host the 2018 Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Human Resources Conference and look forward to inviting professionals from across the region, to share best practices on ways we can strengthen our tourism workforces for collective success.”

Registration and other information available at www.onecaribbean.org.

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CTO Sec. Gen. Remarks at 2016 Tourism HR Conference in Antigua

Remarks by CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley at the official opening of the CTO’s 8th Tourism Human Resources Conference Jolly Beach Resort, Antigua, May 11, 2016

Hon. Samantha Marshall, Minister of Social Transformation and Human Resource Development
Mrs. Paula Frederick-Hunte, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy
Mr. Colin James, Chief Executive Officer, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority
Mrs. Vanessa Ledesma, Chief Operating Officer, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
Dr. Lorraine Nicholas, tourism specialist at the OECS Commission
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

RileyHRConf2016

It is a pleasure and an honor to be with you today to share a few opening thoughts as we tackle the business of Making Excellence a Habit.

My comments are just the appetizer because the experts whom Bonita Morgan and her team have assembled to speak to us over the next few days, will certainly serve up the main course.

Before we even begin, please join me in thanking The Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism for Antigua and Barbuda and his team of professionals for their gracious hospitality and their warm welcome to Antigua.

The person who met us and drove us here from the airport is certainly one of finest first impressions of a destination that I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. Cleo Henry’s knowledge, pride in her country and sheer eloquence, should be used as an industry best-practice.

Our gratitude too, must go to the Management and Staff at Jolly Beach Resort for their attentiveness and their obvious focus on satisfying the needs of their guests.

There is no denying that when we speak of customer satisfaction, we often tend to focus a disproportionate amount of attention on front line employees. Why? Because they are critically important to the delivery of the tourism product to the end user, and are therefore an essential source of immediate feedback on how we’re doing.

But in addition to the frontline, there are the legions of team members who are involved in every aspect of creating, selling, marketing, designing, building, defending, testing, researching and communicating the experience we ultimately deliver. Because we are tourism destinations, we naturally focus on visitors but the basic formula for winning the satisfaction and approval of our customers, works in virtually any field of endeavor.

So what is it that we really aim to achieve in our interaction with customers?

Imagine for a moment how our day would begin – and end – if we truly focused on making every customer a repeat customer. So regardless of what you do, you go to work tomorrow and decide that each interaction is going to be aimed at getting this person to come back to your restaurant, or hotel, watersports facility or country.

So automatically, you are now in the mode of doing such an excellent job to get them back, time and again, that you are spontaneously guaranteeing that their current experience is special. You are effectively making that process a habit.

When I was putting these few thoughts together about Making Excellence a Habit, I was curious to see how Webster, Oxford, Encarta and even the American Journal of Psychology defined a habit.  Generally speaking, they sort of agree that a habit is a regular tendency or practice. An automatic reaction to a specific situation.

So we effectively need to be making excellence automatic.

And why does it even matter if we’re excellent? Who cares? We all must care.

Because we are the world’s most tourism-dependent region, we must care more than anyone else. No one should pay more attention to delivering a superb experience, than we in the Caribbean.

Over the years I’ve discovered that not everyone is comfortable with the fact that we are so tourism-dependent.  To some it sounds like we are stuck there; like we are saying that somehow we should not develop other areas of our economies. We should not try to diversify. Of course we should. Countries all over the world that were overly dependent on one sector or another, have sought to diversify their economies; and interestingly, all of the world’s developed countries, rich in various natural and other resources, have turned serious attention to developing their tourism sectors!

There are reasons why the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region.

The number one reason is that we have a huge competitive advantage. Where else in the world is there the combination of Dutch, English, French, Spanish, African and Asian cultures in one destination?

The Caribbean’s natural and built-heritage, its food, visual and performing arts, history and infectious hospitality are all attractive magnets for foreigners seeking a new narrative.

Stunning colonial architecture and pockets of indigenous peoples also provide rich experiences waiting to captivate curious discoverers.

Where else is there a combination of excellent weather, all year-round, alluring beaches and infectious rhythms?

The Caribbean is proud to possess 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, located in 14 countries. Some of the Caribbean’s sites were inscribed on the list as early as 1982, placing us on the list before prominent countries like China, India, Spain and the UK.

So those are some of the competitive advantages that make us proud of our tourism prominence.

But as important as it is to have all of that, the adhesive that must bind it all together is service excellence.

Our competitors around the world can always have deeper pockets and taller buildings; but no one should have better people than the Caribbean. Nowhere in the world should there be a population that is more dedicated to acquiring the tools and using the resources available to constantly assess and improve our performance. In other words, as a region we must pay close attention to customer response mechanisms, so that we always know how our guests are defining excellence.

That feedback is essential. Grab every realistic opportunity to communicate with your guests and find out how they really feel. Only by knowing how we are doing, can we constantly improve.

At the Caribbean Tourism Organization we feel so strongly about this that we created a monitoring mechanism for destinations. Guestpitality – Total Visitor Satisfaction asks visitors to assess their destination experience in seven critical sectors. This is on-the-ground feedback on how a country is doing in the most vital areas of a visitor’s experience. Just as high scores are validation of what you are doing right, Guestpitality also points out the sectors that need attention. If we want to be excellent, we must make collecting feedback a habit!

We all know that there are good habits and bad habits; and as we also know, habits are hard to break. So let’s choose good ones, and then make them impossible to break!

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, HR Conference

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Region to be challenged to move from good to great at CTO Tourism Human Resources Conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (15 April, 2016) – The Caribbean’s economic viability and sustainability must continue to attract the attention of leaders and policymakers in all walks of life as the region continues to grapple with the challenges of the 21st century.

“As companies and nation states, we must consider that what we have done in the past may not be good enough; what got us this far may not get us to the place where we create the loyalty and profitability we desperately need,” said M. Ian Blanchard, an action business coach and former chief executive at telecommunications company Cable & Wireless.

Mr. Blanchard will be a presenter at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 8th Tourism Human Resources Conference in Antigua & Barbuda from 11-13 May. He will speak on the topic, From Good to Great: Driving Leadership & Organizational Excellence and will challenge participants to “become better versions” of themselves and fulfil the Caribbean’s true potential.

“We live in an age where opportunities abound, where we have access to a global audience in ways that are much cheaper and easier than ever before. In order for us to move from good to great and derive leadership and organizational excellence we must care more, not just about or own island, our own nationals, our own families or employees, but about the wider, the broader, the bigger picture. We must care about legacy, about building transgenerational capacity and about making a difference that will outlast us,” he said.

The session will address four key areas – clarity, accountability, reflection and execution – that are essential to drive leadership and organizational excellence.

“We will explore our path and create clear actions for moving forward,” he added.

The conference theme is, Making Excellence a Habit: Service, Loyalty and Profitability in Caribbean Tourism. It is being organized by the CTO in collaboration with Antigua & Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority and will be held at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa.

For more information, including how to register, visit www.onecaribbean.org or email Marvelle Sealy at the CTO at [email protected]

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