ROLVING THE SKILL PROBLEM IN THE HOSPITALITY/TOURISM SECTOR.
As founder and Director Kigezi Biota Tours Ltd; Director Kabale Backpackers hostel; A tourist guide - the first female professional tourist guide - to Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi and within Uganda; Vice chairperson of Uganda Safari Guides’ Association (USAGA); A trainer in safari guiding and; An employer in the sector; I realize that students enroll for tourism with the misconception that it is a get-rich-quick scheme. Poor students especially believe it will pay off quickly – ‘all I need is one muzungu’! I’m passionate about tourism and equally concerned about who makes a career in tourism.
Thirdly, I’m disappointed by the quality of hospitality interns and graduates. Their standard of and skills for service delivery are poor! It is as if they are not trained in hospitality at all! This is why business owners fish over the border for labour. The logical solution is to develop the skills of local labour to meet business standards; it is cheaper and more sustainable. My response to Uganda’s standards and skills problem has always been to provide special hands-on skills training when my budget allowed!
Lastly, I am challenged by the high quality, professional, hospitality I received in Canada, Europe and South Africa. In our beautifully gifted Uganda, the industry is characterized by low standards of service delivery, poor skills, an unprofessional workforce and ZERO ethics. Youth can be a disaster or a resource for development. We must show them what tourists expect, identify their potential, mentor them to maximize it and give them hands-on learning opportunities through apprenticeship.
The purpose of this letter is to invite you to seriously consider the consequences of poor standards and skills to the industry, and consequently make a commitment to correct our standard and skills profile. Kigezi Biota Tours Ltd has developed a five-year plan that will combine career guidance, mentorship, apprenticeship at the right standard and practical training. Will you join us?
Kigezi Biota Tours Ltd.