Tourism product managers may cringe when they think that hair braiders are the frontline representatives for Belize's Tourism product.
But, like them or don't, they are often get the first taste of the Belizean experience that cruise tourists get.
Make no mistake they're hard working ladies and an essential part of the tourism picture, but the BTB is concerned that they can be a little rough around the edges when making that sales pitch.
That's why the Belize Tourism Board is holding a 2 day training session for 23 hair braiders from the Fort Street Tourism Village.
The session covers professionalism, etiquette, health and safety and, organization. One of the coordinators explained:...
Perry Bodden Jr. - Coordinator, BTB
"BTB is embarking on a 2 day training program for the hair braiders at the Fort George Tourism Village area. The areas that we are going to cover in the training are professionalism, etiquette, customer service and the health aspect of cosmetology and we are going to touch on some marketing strategies as well."
"The quality and assurance department main goal is to overall enhance the visitors experience on tourist on a whole, so the ladies could take the knowledge from this training and use it. Day two of this training we are going to have like a hand-on training of some different styles they could use at the village and as well we are going to teach them more or less how to use a computer and go out and YouTube it on different styles and just keep up to standards."
"Speaking of standards - we have a minimum standards that is going to come out pretty soon for the hair braiders. This training serves as a way of getting information as well. From this we are gathering more information and compile it to what we have to make the rules and regulations for the ladies."
Mapye Smith, Facilitator
"BTB had decided that they need minimum standards for the hair braiders and I think the whole of Belize needs minimum standards and so we are trying to put in some of these things in place. I think they want it for themselves, but it's just how they are going to get there and make some decisions and some guidelines."
"This morning we started more with trying to empower them about themselves; what the best face that they want to put forward. We know the face that we want for Belize. When people come off the ship these are the first people they are meeting and we definitely they need to be more professional like all of us we need to have a professional image. We spoke to them about themselves so that they could better their image and things like that and in presentation; their attitudes, because you can only look good so much but you also have to have the right attitude. So we are hoping that that's going to come through and through that they are going to look at some of the suggestions that they want as guidelines for themselves and then BTB has their own standards that will speak to them about."
After completing the training, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion and a Hair Braiding Kit which will include some hair care products and sanitizers.