Dushinka Roberts of the Abaco Tourist Office facilitated Session 5 of the BahamaHost Program on Sept. 16 at the Tourism Information Center in the Rhonda Hull Building.
Roberts began with a brief history of the BahamaHost Program, which was revamped by former Tourism Minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace in the past four years to include more customer service modules. The reason for the change was because many of our guests made displeasing comments about our country regarding their stay on their exit surveys.
Such feedback caused grave concerns because tourism is our No. 1 industry.
The BahamaHost course is segmented into five parts. The first portion is called My Bahamas Product Knowledge because it is important for our frontline workers to give our visitors accurate information. In Workshop Two, there are three Professional Service Excellence sessions.
“The reason there are so many sessions on customer service is because we are losing touch with customer service,” Roberts, said pointedly.
In Workshop 3, Sustainable Tourism is addressed. All 16 of the participants enrolled in the program are connected to the hospitality industry in some way, Roberts said. They will receive 30 percent of their grade from participation and attendance, and the remaining 70 percent is based on the final exam.
Their first lecturer was Raquel Cox, a history teacher from Abaco Central High School. She outlined BahamaHost’s mission and objectives before asking the participants to introduce themselves using an adjective that began with the first letter of their first names.
“It is important to know who you are because it is a reflection of who we are as a people,” Cox acknowledged.
They went on to learn about history, geography, civics and culture in the first module of My Bahamas Product Knowledge. By the end of the session, Cox told them they would be expected to be able to examine the history of The Bahamas in light of its present and future developments; create a timeline of key historical events; explain key geography, climatic and industry facts about the islands of The Bahamas; identify and examine the relevance of the national symbols; identify the islands of The Bahamas; describe how the governmental system works; and discuss the customs and cultural elements of the Tourism product in The Bahamas.
Cox taught about Christopher Columbus and the Lucayan Indians followed by the Eleutheran Adventurers before shifting gears to the period of piracy and Woodes Rogers in the 17th century, and then on to the Loyalists, slavery and United States relations with The Bahamas. The geological and geographical make up of The Bahamas was given along with information on our climate, vegetation and population. She listed the country’s top industries before ending with the government of The Bahamas and key events that characterize our nation.
Session 5 of the BahamaHost course will end on October 8, and classes are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.