Over 700 displaced Tourism Employees benefit from Phase II Government Stimulus Package

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The Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) continues to implement the SAT$1million Phase II of the Government Stimulus Package for Tourism and Hospitality, in conducting a capacity building and development programme through training courses. As the leading implementing agency, the Authority has been working in partnership with the National University of Samoa (NUS), Samoa Business Hub (SBH), and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) as service providers to implement these courses which are accredited locally and also Australian accredited, and are recognized internationally for employment.

More than 700 displaced employees and those working on reduced hours within the Tourism Industry due to Covid-19, are benefitting from this initiative with Short and Formal courses since the initiative began in September last year. Short Courses include Information and Communication Technology, Hospitality and Business Essentials, Food, Beverage and Bar servicing skills, Customer Service, Housekeeping skill set. Formal Courses include Certificate IV in Leadership and Management, Certificate II in Cookery, Certificate II in Food and Beverage, Certificate II in Front Office and Accommodation Services, Certificate II in Tour Guiding.

“The training courses were selected based on the relevance to the current work situations, as well as to ensure improved service delivery in order to deliver a quality visitor experience.” Said STA CEO, Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua.

“With ongoing challenges faced by members of our Industry, this is one of the many initiatives we have rolled out since the pandemic to not only increase capacity building but provide some assistance for members that are actually affected. “We will continue to work in collaboration with our members to create more opportunities for all.” Faamatuainu added.

These trainings play a big part in preparing and refining services by the local tourism Industry for when borders open up, in which the Authority continues to be in touch with overseas markets on possible scenarios for Samoa if travel resumes sometime this year. The Samoa Hotels Association (SHA) has been in close collaboration with the Government in finding ways to assist its members. “We acknowledge the Government for this initiative and support during these times, and assistance such as this will assist the industry especially the affected employment within the sector.” Said the President of SHA, Tupa’i Saleimoa Vaai.

“It’s a great opportunity to refine skills and enhance our services within the industry in preparation for when borders do open up and serve all visitors, domestic or international.” Tupa’i added. “We will continue to present that unique friendly hospitality of our people which makes Samoa unique and are renowned for.”

Participants graduating with accredited qualifications and certificates delivered by the service providers will not only have the opportunity to better find employment overseas, but will also be more than ready and on standby to cater for visitors once borders open up.

Furthermore, participants receive monetary allowances during the courses every week, which is very much needed for them and their families at this time. Graduates are being taught with a more hands-on approach, and offers them more opportunities to further their studies and have established career paths.

“We are so thankful for this opportunity to refresh our knowledge on customer services, and also how we’ve learnt some new skills in hosting visitors when borders open up, especially with health and social precautions to take moving forward.” Said Silialaei Seumanutafa, a tour guideat the Falealupo Canopy Walkway.

Katalina Penetina Ilalio from Le Vasa Resort said the training has taught her a lot in terms of safety and hygiene.

“There is a big chance for me to learn more in bar servicing and no wonder why our boss is always so strict on the using of proper tools and applicable hygiene practices in the workplace.” Said Katalina.

Participants were very thankful for also receiving monetary allowances during the courses, as echoed by Tour guide at Laauoleola Cave in Aopo, Faalagilagi Umamoa, and receptionist at Stevenson’s at Manase who said that it has helped them and their families especially with their reduced hours of employment.

Training opportunities under this Government Stimulus package have been well executed since its inception, with Training Providers meeting mutual requirements that are paramount in delivering quality training. Remaining courses are continuing and will carry through till June.

The various hotels and accommodations throughout Upolu and Savaii hosted all the trainings with the generous assistance from the Government of New Zealand.

The Authority acknowledges the Government of Samoa in recognizing needs of the industry through this invaluable training scheme, the Government of New Zealand, and key agencies that have positively contributed to achieving the overarching goal of this initiative including the
Ministry of Finance, National University of Samoa, Australia Pacific Training Coalition, Samoa Business Hub, Tourism Training Taskforce, Tourism and Hospitality Sector, Samoa Hotels Association, Savaii Samoa Tourism Association, and the Aleipata Tourism Alliance.

(Source : Samoa Tourism Authority Release 12 February 2021 )

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