Tourism Minister says learning French and Spanish is vital to the development of the Tourism Industry

St. John’s Antigua; Tourism Minister, Asot Michael, says that learning Spanish, French and Italian is crucial to the competitiveness of Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism.

The Minister made the statement at a graduation ceremony for students of the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute.

Minister Michael said, “This Institute will also have to expand its curriculum to include language training in French, Spanish and Italian if we are to diversify our markets and accommodate visitors from outside our traditional markets in Canada, the US and Britain”.

 Drawing attention to recent developments in Jamaica, the Minster pointed out that “Just last week, Jamaica – which is among the top four tourism earners in the Caribbean – announced that it would no longer require visas from several Latin American countries. Jamaica is going after markets in Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Mexico”.  “We would neglect these markets at our peril”, the Minister said.

 In this regard, Minister Michael revealed that not only would be proposing to Cabinet “that we should also abolish visa requirements for tourists from these countries”, but also that he will “engage the Minister of Education, the Hotel Association and the Hotel and Tourism Institute on ways in which Spanish and French can be introduced into our curriculum”.

The Minister told the graduands: “You must also not believe that now that you have graduated from this Institute, your need for training and knowledge is over.

Training and knowledge must be refreshed, reinvigorated, revitalized. It must go beyond the rudiments of hospitality and an understanding of the industry – vitally important though these things are”.

Minister Michael concluded that “This Institute will also have to expand its curriculum to include language training in French, Spanish and Italian if we are to diversify our markets and accommodate visitors from outside our traditional markets in Canada, the US and Britain”.