Tourism August 29, 2023 | 3:30 pm

Qualified personnel, the biggest challenge of the tourist boom in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo.- Amid the rapid expansion of the Dominican hotel sector, the chief challenge at hand is ensuring a sufficient supply of qualified human resources, according to the president and executive vice president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (Asonahores), David Llibre and Andrés Marranzini, respectively.

Llibre and Marranzini noted that if both national and international conditions remain favorable, the country aims to welcome 8 million air tourists and an additional 2 million foreign visitors via cruise ships this year, thereby achieving the ambitious goal of 10 million visitors set in 2012.

Furthermore, projections indicate that around 6,000 new hotel rooms will become operational between 2024 and 2025.

The executives of Asonahores emphasized that as tourist arrivals to the country continue to surge, there has been a corresponding increase in investment in accommodations and complementary offerings, expanding beyond just hotel stays.

However, the surge in arrivals and operational rooms brings forth various challenges, with the primary concern being the proper training of hotel staff to deliver exceptional service.

They pointed out that as the number of rooms increases, the quality of service could potentially decline. To tackle this issue, agreements have been established with the National Institute for Professional Technical Training (Infotep) and universities.

Through specialized courses with Infotep, the hotel sector aims to maintain a ratio of two and a half employees for each room, tailored to the hotel’s specific type. This means, for instance, that the incorporation of 10,000 new rooms would necessitate approximately 30,000 adequately trained employees. These calculations also consider the development of emerging tourist destinations such as Miches in the East and Pedernales in the South.

Furthermore, ensuring a pool of skilled workforce is crucial not only to maintain service quality but also to benefit local employment, preventing competition for workers among different hotels.

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Paul Tierney
August 30, 2023 11:03 am

It may be suggested to correct this imbalance is to change the behavior of the hospitality industry. The industry is shooting itself in the foot. This business has been known to have cycles to layoff and/or firing lower-level employees as a policy to keep wage budgets reduced. This policy is damaging, it deprives employers of the knowledge and skills and the resources of its seasoned staffs, the quality attributes the industry has want. Suggest, it is better to have In-house training and education reimbursement as being the more appropriate paths to produce, cultivate qualified personnel, and increase profits resulting human investments.