Government Embarks On Tourism SMEs Training

By Kondwani Magombo

Mangochi, August 25, Mana: Government has embarked on a 10-day Training of Trainers (ToT) session for small and medium enterprise owners in tourism industry in a quest to make the sector vibrant and more competitive both on the local and international markets.

The training rolled out on Monday and involves 26 trainers drawn from the tourism industry.

Upon being certified, the trained trainers will then train other 500 small and medium tourism enterprise owners across the country.

Principal Secretary for Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Isaac Katopola described the training as crucial in creating capacity for the training of micro, small and medium tourism enterprises.

“We have over 1,500 tourism enterprises in the country and a study done by our consultants indicates that owners of over 65 per cent of the enterprises have never had any formal training whatsoever in business management,” said Katopola.

“The sector is skills-based and when you have people who lack the skills to run the enterprise, the sector fails to compete both at local and international levels,” he added.

Katopola expressed optimism that the tourism industry will bounce back to its earlier status after the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

He said the pool of trainers from the training will steer the process of the sector’s comeback by training other 500 enterprise owners.

Howarth HTL Consultants is the government’s partner in the ToT Program which spans 18 months, according to the company’s representative, Dr. Peter Jere.

Jere said the project involves scoping the context of small and medium tourism enterprises and development of training manuals, among other things.

“Our baseline survey revealed that there’s an enormous demand for training out there and we developed material to respond to the needs on the ground,” Jere said.

He added: “We are going to equip the trainers with the necessary skills to communicate and engage with the trainees to produce results so that when people visit the enterprises they should receive appropriate services.”

The 26 trainers have been drawn from a wide range of the tourism sectors’ SMEs including transport, curios, hospitality (restaurants and lodges), game parks and other recreational facilities.

The training, funded by African Development Bank, is being delivered under strict COVID-19 preventive measures.