Following several episodes of discussion and deliberation, the OECS Tourism and Hospitality Training Task Force met in St. Kitts on December 1st to finalise the Implementation Plan before starting to establish the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Tourism (ECIT).
Deemed to be the flagship of the overall 10th EDF Economic Integration and Trade of the OECS project, the ECIT is expected to create a meaningful, significant, positive impact on the competitiveness of the region’s tourism sector.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the constitution of the OECS Tourism and Hospitality Training Task Force. The establishment of this Task Force was mandated by the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers at their 9th meeting convened in Saint Lucia in 2010 when the Ministers in principle, endorsed a proposal to develop an integrated system for tourism hospitality training and education, characterised by centres of specialisation operating respectively in Hospitality Training Institutes in each OECS Member State.
The composition of the Task Force comprises representatives from:
• The National Tourism Organisations in the OECS
• Tertiary level training institutions i.e. Community Colleges
• The Caribbean Tourism Organisation
• The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
• The OECS Commission
The primary role of this Task Force as articulated in the Terms of Reference is to provide policy guidance and direction, with a view to improving the tertiary education and vocational training system for tourism and hospitality in the region. The Task Force is therefore expected to play a lead role in establishing the ECIT.
The establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Tourism (ECIT) as a reputable regional blended-learning institute that offers specialised accredited programmes in tourism and hospitality would involve the following main activities:
• The development, improvement and harmonization of curricula
• Upgrading of facilities at the colleges which will deliver the programmes of the ECIT
• Establishment of a Tourism and Hospitality Academic Review Panel
• Procurement and installation of Network ICT infrastructure
• Procurement and Operationalisation of a Learning Management System
• Training and Capacity Building for Lecturers
• Establishment of a Research Centre
• Establishment of a Scholarship Foundation
The meeting at the Marriott Hotel involves representatives from all OECS Member States.