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Importance of excellent service in tourism, national development

Importance of excellent service in tourism, national development

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30.NOV.07 by Vida Bernard Director of Tourism

In a world of change, one constant over the last two decades has been sustained growth of tourism as both an activity and an industry. Tourism has been remarkable in its resistance to adverse economic and political conditions. However, it should be noted that growth has decreased as the market matures.{{more}}

International Organizations and Governments support tourism for its contribution to world peace, the benefits of mixing peoples and cultures, the economic advantages which can ensue, and the fact that tourism is a relatively ‘clean’ industry. But we must be aware of the fact that tourism “unplanned for” can spoil a destination, bring with it adverse social change, and even the employment and monetary gains associated with tourism can sometimes be illusory in many destinations.

Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Tourism Industry is a combination of public and private sector firms and establishments providing attractions, facilities and services for tourists. Or put another way, we call the Tourism Sector that part of the economy which has a common function of meeting tourist needs, by providing tourism-related businesses.

These businesses must be effectively managed and efficiently staffed as the provision of service is their main focus. In light of this, we cannot adequately look at the management of tourism business without examining the growing emphasis on service excellence since this has now emerged as a major competitive component of business strategies.

There are three reasons which may account for the increasing relevance of excellent service:

Tourism related business needs to find ways of creating differential advantage by having better service levels than their competitors.

The increased level of consumerism and the greater media attention of excellent service have meant that establishments have to be more responsive to quality issues.

There has been a growing sophistication of consumer markets, with the non-price factors of image, product positioning and service delivery becoming more important.

With this growth in ‘consumerism’, consumers are expecting to receive products and services of a higher minimum acceptable level.

This brings us to the point of having to come up with new ideas and also developing standards for the tourist industry. By this I mean that there is need for an agency to ensure and enforce the required standards by which businesses in the tourism industry should operate. Can we be speaking about excellent service without having proper standards? High standards and excellent service ensures repeat business. If I come to this restaurant or go to any other tourism-related facility, and the standard and service are of a high quality, you can be sure I will want to repeat my visit and, at the same time, I will tell my friends about my experience at the particular establishment. I can then become a regular client of such an establishment.

The reliance on repeat business and the effects of word-of-mouth recommendation make excellent service and the resulting guest satisfaction of paramount importance in the tourism industry and for national development of a country. Excellent service brings with it increased staff commitment and improved levels of performance. It must be recognized that any marketing effort aimed at customers will also influence employee perceptions. Therefore, in all of this, the human factor or element is extremely important. Persons working in various tourism-related facilities, e.g. restaurants, hotels, pubs, bars, taxi drivers, tour guides, front line personnel in both public and private sectors must be adequately prepared to provide top quality service. Training on and off job is essential.

Employees must be knowledgeable of their establishment’s goal, and be prepared to implement the necessary strategies needed to achieve these goals.

Delivering excellent service becomes a priority if establishments are to maintain their competitiveness in business and advance national development.