KOTA KINABALU: Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai has urged players in the hospitality and tourism industry to upgrade their skills aggressively to meet demands for world class hospitality.
He said he strongly believed the hospitality and tourism industry can fully maximize its potential by investing more in human development.
“Skills need to be upgraded aggressively and staff to be engaged in various relevant training programmes.
“There is an urgent need to build highly competent workforce that can provide world class hospitality in order to make our country a world class destination.
“The government, through my ministry, is working very closely with our local colleges and universities to churn out skillful and capable graduates to fill in vacancies in the hospitality and tourism industry,” he said at the closing dinner and prize presentation of 13th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta 2010 here on Sunday.
Yee pointed out that a substantial sum of funds had been channeled towards sponsoring youths interested and passionate about pursuing a rewarding career in the industry.
“These are people who will eventually form the workforce needed to help shape the tourism future of Sabah.
“In addition to providing skills training programmes to strengthen our local tourism and hospitality labour force, the training providers play a substantial role to better prepare the state in achieving a high level of competitiveness in the global tourism marketplace,” he said.
He added that Asian Tourism International College (ATI) is one of the training providers that rise to contain the current and future training needs of the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The cooperation of ATI College and the Malaysian Association of Hotels-Sabah and Labuan Chapter, is a perfect example of the bond forged between training providers and industry leaders that produce skilled and quality manpower to fill in the needs of the industry,” he said.
According to Yee, the government is making every effort to provide world class facilities to accommodate the ever increasing visitors while preserving the scenic beauty of Sabah in order to fulfill a foreign visitor’s ideal gateway destination.
“I believe, we will surpass the projected number of visitors coming to our country. And this will prove to be a challenge for all hospitality and tourism players.
“We need to equip ourselves with the skills needed to tackle such challenges. We will work hand-in-hand to uplift our standard to the best possible level demanded by the international market,” he said.
Meanwhile, organising chairperson Anita Chung said this year, they have recorded the highest total number of registered participants at 195 competitors participating in various classes for both hotel and college categories.
She said the fiesta has proven that Sabah is indeed capable of producing local talents that are marketable.
“Training providers such as ATI College have continuously produced and trained our locals in this industry that is constantly undergoing innovative changes,” she said.
Anita added that another highlight of the fiesta is the charity related activity whereby 10 hotels and resorts plus one college have put in efforts to create a giant Malaysian flag using 4,500 cupcakes.
“For every cupcake sold, buyers earn themselves a chance to win one of three handsets sponsored by Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd.
“All proceeds will be donated to our selected beneficiary this year, Sabah Chesire Home,” she said, adding that a total of RM5,000 was collected from the sale of cupcakes.
During the closing dinner and prize presentation, Nexus Resort and Spa Karambunai was announced as the overall champion for hotel category while ATI College for the college category.