Thursday, 16 July 2009 11:12 AM

Tetepare Descendants Learn New Hospitality Skills

The Tetepare Descendants' Association held a three-day hospitality training workshop on Tetepare Island this month, in an effort to promote sustainable livelihoods in the Western Province.

The workshop is part of a new push by the Tetepare Descendants' Association (TDA) to develop sustainable livelihood opportunities for TDA communities across the Western Province.

The three-day workshop, held at the Tetepare Island Ecolodge, aimed to help communities develop hospitality skills to run their own village-stay lodges and to gain work at the Tetepare Island Ecolodge and other tourism ventures in the Solomon Islands.

Twenty-five participants from TDA communities on Rendova were selected to take part in the workshop, facilitated by hospitality trainer Jenno Entrikin-Hughes.

Participants learnt a broad range of hospitality skills, including quality customer service, motivation in the workplace, teamwork and communication.

Course participant Donga Johnson, who works as a tour guide on Tetepare Island, said he greatly enjoyed the hospitality workshop, which he described as interesting and very useful.

The Tetepare Descendants' Association (TDA) is a community-based organisation working to conserve the conservation jewel of Tetepare Island, while providing benefits for its 3000 members across the Western Province.

The TDA sustainable livelihoods program operates with the support of the Sustainable Forestry Conservation Project of the European Union.

TDA Sustainable Livelihoods Coordinator, Kinki Havea, said the TDA and workshop participants were delighted with the success of the hospitality training.

Mr Havea said the workshop would also help make visitors' stays at the Tetepare Island Ecolodge even more enjoyable.

"We receive fantastic feedback from our guests at the ecolodge, but we are always looking for ways to improve.

"This course has given our hospitality team some great new ideas about customer service and communication as well as practical tour guiding skills."

"We are really lucky to have financial support from the European Union to run our sustainable livelihoods program, including workshops like this.

"It also helps strengthen our conservation program, because it helps people to see the benefits of conserving their natural environment," Mr Havea said.

He said the training workshop was just one of a number of TDA livelihoods projects underway in communities in the Western Province.

Mr Havea said the Tetepare Island Ecolodge was the TDA's first sustainable livelihoods venture, and continued to be an extremely successful venture.

Tourists come from around the world to enjoy the pristine beauty and wildlife of Tetepare Island, and visitor numbers at the Tetepare Island Ecolodge are growing every year.

The TDA-run Tetepare Island Ecolodge employs more than 30 people from nearby communities as cooks, guides, drivers and other hospitality workers.

The TDA plans to recruit new hospitality workers to increase employment opportunities for nearby Communities on nearby Rendova Island and in Munda also benefit from the Tetepare Ecolodge through regular sales of vegetables, coconut oil and other goods to the ecolodge.

Mr Havea said the TDA was working to bring more livelihoods opportunities to TDA communities across the Western Province and would be visiting more TDA communities in the West to discuss livelihoods opportunities in the coming months.

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