Image: Senator Anne Ruston meets Falakiko Falemaka and family
Tonga Skills was fortunate to join Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, during a visit to some of our tourism business clients on ‘Eua. The Assistant Minister spent time at ‘Kiko’s Whale Swim’ and learned how skills development has supported him and his family to grow their local whale watching business.
Image: Kiko’s place on ‘Eua Island
In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Tonga Skills, funded through Australian Aid, is providing on-site coaching with nine locally-owned tourism businesses on ‘Eua. Skills training focuses on areas such as housekeeping, menu development, food safety, tour guiding techniques, and customer service in order to support sustainable growth of the industry on ‘Eua.
Image: Senator Anne Ruston tours Kiko’s Whale, Swim, Dive Lodge and Restaurant
Following the initial roll-out of support for the tourism sector, two informal homestays have increased their service standards to become formal guesthouses and are now registered with the Ministry of Tourism office on ’Eua. Tonga Skills Tourism Coach, Mr Lopeti Filo, explained that “through targeted coaching, all clients have shown increased quality standards in customer service, cooking and tour guiding. We have also had two client complete renovations of their kitchens and restaurants as part of what we call the ‘Deep Dive model’.”
Image: Senator Anne Ruston visited Kiko’s Whale, Swim, Dive Lodge and Restaurant @ ‘Eua island on March 11, 2019
With regular on-site business coaching support, the Deep Dive model takes a holistic view of skills and training needs within individual businesses in the sector while also supporting national systems and partner priorities. In addition, the approach encourages links to complementary sectors, such as garment manufacturing, handicrafts and farming so that the benefits from tourism are spread further within the community.
Photo acknowledgment: Australian High Commission Tonga copyright