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20.11.2004 Business & Finance

GTB to support caterers to be self-sustaining

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Tema, Nov. 20, GNA - The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) is considering the sourcing for funds to grant loans to catering graduates who would wish to set up their businesses.

For those who would opt for the formal sector by getting absorbed into the various institutions, the board would list their names for assistance, Mr Charles Osei-Bonsu, Deputy Executive Director of Finance and Administration of the GTB announced on Saturday.

He was speaking at the 22nd graduation of 26 students of the Leo Catering and Sugarcraft Training Institute at Tema. The ceremony was being observed on the theme: "Catering and Sugarcraft-the key to tourism development in Ghana".

The offer, he said would act as an incentive for catering students to work hard and live up to expectation by adhering to standards to promote tourism, which has become the country's fourth foreign exchanger earner.

Mr Osei-Bonsu entreated those in the tourism sector to exhibit professionalism and maintain good human relations with their customers because without them they would be out of jobs.

To exhibit professionalism, however, the Deputy Executive Director said the GTB was working on a tourism capacity initiative document to teach students in catering and hotel management on how to excel so that they were not found wanting.

Madam Ophelia Ablorh, Training Manager of Merchant Bank said it was about time caterers and hoteliers used local materials in all spheres of their operations.

For instance, while stressing on preparing local dishes they must also serve food in local dishes "asanka" to entice foreigners.

Madam Ablorh urged food vendors, caterers and hoteliers to endeavour to sustain the industry to promote tourism by operating under hygienic conditions and also introduce innovations into their work.

She urged them to add value to their services through proper processing, packaging, labelling, storage, handling and marketing. Mrs Belinda Tay, Proprietor of the Institute said in promoting professional excellence, the Institute ha introduced a four-week course in bridal consulting.

She said the institute, which started with five students in 1996 had since turned out 424 students.

While calling on parents to invest in their wards' education for good returns in future, Mrs Tay advised the students also to reciprocate the investment with discipline and hard work.

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