Institut de Formation Hôtelière et Touristique
The college is managed by Karine Conde, Departmental Director for Tourism in Southern Haiti. This is her story:
Karine was born one August 11th 1975 in Port au Prince, Haiti. She spent much of her young life in the south of the country before moving to the USA to complete her studies. Upon her return to Haiti she became involved in politics and in November 2011, Karine was nominated as Director for Tourism in Southern Haiti. She is now responsible for the implementation of the Haitian Governments plan to develop the South as a key Tourist Attraction.
In a bid to carry out an assessment of the area’s needs, her job as Director required for extensive travel throughout the region. The more places she visited, the more she realised the deficiencies in the hospitality sector and the absolute necessity for a School of Hospitality Management & Tourism.
Her dream however, was not just to train young people in the skills required for the Service Industry. She says, “I need for these young people to see hope for the future despite the extreme poverty in which they live. I want them to understand that one can start at the bottom and work to the top in the service industry with or without a degree. I really want them to believe that today is today, but tomorrow is theirs and that it starts with a positive smile and a nice attitude toward others.”
She lobbied the Minister for Tourism for support in establishing a school and found a perfect home for it just outside of Les Cayes, a base previously occupied by the United Nation Security Forces, thus giving birth to IFORHT.
Currently half of the facility is occupied by the schools administration offices, classrooms, computer lab, mock bedrooms/bathrooms and reception areas. However, with the goal to ultimately create a self-sustaining college, an onsite Boulangerie, Kitchen Garden and Restaurant are due to open in early 2015.
As the school is located at the entry point to the city of Cayes, Karine’s vision is to incorporate a fully functioning Tourist Welcome Centre into the grounds, which will consist of a tourist information office, an animation centre and a craft market. Visitors will have access to the Restaurant and Boulangerie which will also allow students gain experience in a real life situation.
Currently IFORHT offers both full and part time courses in services directly related to tourism which include Reception, Bar/Restaurant, & Housekeeping/ Maintenance Management. The goal is add classes in Valet parking, Concierge, Security, Grounds Maintenance, Massage & Beauty, First Aid / CPR.
Karine passionately believes that the service industry has a huge role to play in the future development of Haiti. “Haiti is a beautiful country and we must provide the facilities and resources which will encourage people to visit. Service elevation is an integral part of the Governments Strategy ‘Haiti is ready for Business’ and I believe this college will provide the enthusiastic, driven and inspired people we need to bring Haiti to the next level.”
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