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New Hospitality Forum 8 September 2004

People in the tourism industry have joined together to form a Hospitality Forum to work with the Department of Tourism and Leisure to improve quality and service standards.

Members of the Hospitality Forum are representatives from the accommodation sector, Licensed Victuallers Association, Isle of Man Breweries, Manx National Heritage, the taxi licensing committee, IoM Steam Packet Company, IoM Airport, IoM College and the retail sector.

Tourism Minister David Cretney explained:

"The Tourism Strategy approved by Tynwald in April this year had - as one of its main objectives to help the industry develop a programme for staff recruitment, training and retention - the further aim of improving service standards throughout the hospitality industry.

"The Hospitality Forum aims to do that by developing a revised version of the Manx Welcome training programme in conjunction with Isle of Man College. The programme is aimed equally at all staff in the industry whether new to the hospitality sector in the Isle of Man or whether they have been in that area for a number of years. It follows on from the Customer Care programme through which the Department has successfully trained 300 people. The new Manx Welcome course will enable those attending to study for four internationally recognised certificates in customer care, basic safety at work, food hygiene and communication."

The Tourism Strategy recognised there is a need to help both the accommodation sector and all elements of the hospitality industry. Discussions were held between Department officers and Jersey and Ireland, who had already developed similar programmes to improve quality.

Hospitality Forum representatives held a consultation meeting with the industry on August 25. It plans to launch the new Manx Welcome programme by the end of October. Chairman Stuart Garrett, HR director at the Steam Packet, said:

"The intention is to have all staff trained to a consistent high standard leading to the award of an internationally recognised qualification. This is an exciting opportunity for all sector employers to provide their staff with a first rate training experience.

"The Forum will also act as a structure for organising and promoting our common interests as a service industry and in this is quite unique given the range of sector participants."

Mr Cretney added:

"I am very pleased that the industry as a whole has recognised the importance of the need to constantly improve the quality of customer care for visitors. Both business and leisure visitors expect higher standards than ever before, and people in the hospitality industry are the key factor in their experience of the Isle of Man."

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