The Montserrat Tourism Division ended its 2021 tourism stakeholder training programme with a one-week workshop that focused on tour guiding, and tour and taxi operations. The course, which ran from October 25 and ended on November 2, was facilitated by Ms Kathryn Mc Connie from Tours Incredible which is based in Trinidad & Tobago.
Ms Mc Connie has been in the hospitality and tourism industry for more than 30 years and in 1993 she made a significant contribution to the Tour Guiding profession though the development of the very first properly structured Professional Tour Guiding Course which was culturally appropriate for the region. In 1996, she collaborated with the Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute (TTHTI) to ensure that tour guides were assessed and certified by a recognized institution which eventually became ISO certified and accredited by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT).
Ms Mc Connie is a Certified Hospitality Educator with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and the founding member of the Trinidad & Tobago Tour Guides Association. She is one of just three tour guides from the region who are members of the prestigious World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. One of her greatest achievements is the publishing of her own text for tour guide training, “The Cicerone – Presentation Skills & Professional Guiding Techniques”, now in its 8th edition of printing.
Director of Tourism, Warren Solomon, noted: “This training could not have come at a more opportune time, with our borders going through the second phase of its re-opening. One of our objectives in making these training opportunities available to our stakeholders was to ensure that no one lost their edge during the period of inactivity when our borders were closed and successful participants would also be designated as Montserrat Service Ready”
A total of 24 tour guides, tour operators and taxi drivers participated in the workshop, which took on a hybrid format. The first two days consisted of classroom instruction done remotely, while Ms Mc Connie was in quarantine (as required by Montserrat’s COVID-19 travel protocols). The remaining days were a combination of classroom and practical sessions, where participants were assessed as they conducted tours around the island.
“The programme was very well-received and participants have adopted a more professional approach in discharging their duties,” stated Rosetta West-Gerald, Product Development Officer at the Montserrat Tourism Division. She continued, “Many are quite keen to put into practice what they would have learnt over the past 8 days and we are also encouraging them to offer tours to the local community and to those nationals returning home who may have lost touch with Montserrat over the years. This would certainly enable them to sharpen their skills and continually improve their service delivery.”
Montserrat’s borders are currently opened to fully vaccinated travelers arriving by air – the island still remains closed to cruise lines. There is a mandatory 5-day quarantine for arriving passengers; they are tested on day 3 or day 4 and released on day 5 once the results are negative.