A training program that will seek to certify thousands of workers in the tourism and hospitality industry was launched Wednesday in St George’s.
Egyptian-born Naguib Sawiris, who owns the high-end Grenadian property, Silver Sands, is the main investor behind the initiative, known as the West Indies School of Hospitality, which will work closely with eCornell, the online training platform of the well-known American institution, Cornell University.
The new chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), Barbadian-born Barry Collymore, and businessman Danny Fahkre, a player in Grenada’s controversial Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme, are also involved through a company unveiled this week as Innovative Inc.
At the launch of the program Wednesday, they announced that they will give 6,000 scholarships to people throughout the Caribbean who are involved in, or have an interest in working in tourism and hospitality, but did not say how much the initiative will cost.
Collymore told THE NEW TODAY that the objective of the West Indies School of Hospitality is to “improve the competitiveness and knowledge of the workforce”.
He said the West Indies School of Hospitality will be funded through grants and sponsorships.
When probed further about who the other financiers are, Collymore said he would prefer to withhold their identities until they are ready to unveil their involvement.
He disclosed that the programme will be administered through workplaces and unemployed Grenadians would also be able to apply.
Major players in the hotel, tourism and hospitality sectors attended the event launch at the Silver Sands.
Among those praising the initiative as an asset in Grenada’s push to make tourism the biggest economic earner for the country were Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and his ministers of Education, Emmalin Pierre and Tourism, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen.
Minister Pierre said the programme aligns with the Ministry of Education’s policy aimed at providing access to quality and relevant education.
She said the Ministry of Education will seek an MOU with the hospitality training programme.
The West Indies School of Hospitality is scheduled to begin awarding scholarships to Grenadians in about three months and the wider Caribbean next year.