Fall 2015 graduates of the revised visitor training program.

Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry is about to make a good thing better. Besides rainbows, exotic gourmet cuisine, beautiful sand beaches, historic sites and scenic byways, global visitors will experience extraordinary customer service during their stay in Hawaiʻi.

The Office of Continuing Education and Training (OCET)—Global Learning and Development (GLaD) unit at Kapiʻolani Community College has teamed up with the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) to offer professional development training for employees in frontline services. These areas include professional tour guides and customer service providers in such areas as hotels, restaurants, airlines, entertainment venues, visitor attractions and retail organizations.

Learning about Hawaiʻi’s culture and servicing global customers

One of the programs, Certification for Hawaiʻi’s Professional Tour Guides, is an updated program that was established in 1993 by the Hawaiʻi State Tourism Training Council and sanctioned by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Kapiʻolani CC’s GLaD team collaborated with industry professionals to identify current service standards for Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry and modernize the training accordingly. In addition to learning more about our host culture, this program is now focused on servicing Hawaiʻi’s global customers, communicating with visitors in ways that are engaging and memorable, as well as sharing stories of Hawaiʻi that are authentic and, most importantly, accurate. Kapiʻolani was granted custody of this program and thus owns all copyrights on the developed curriculum and materials.

The Certification for Hawaiʻi’s Professional Tour Guides allows individuals to enhance skills and knowledge in their profession. The Certificate for Customer Service in Hawaiʻi provides professional development training for individuals in various service industries. An additional training program has also been designed for individuals seeking careers and preparing them for positions in Hawaiʻi’s service industries.

Shirley Tsuhako, program manager at OCET, said she is very excited about working with HTA on these programs. “When you think about it, a tour guide can tell amazing stories about Hawaiʻi. A guest service agent can convey a warm message of aloha even over the telephone, retail sales associates can exemplify hoʻokipa in how they warmly greet and service their customers and a restaurant worker can share about locally grown food and traditional Hawaiian cooking methods with patrons. Through training, employees will have an opportunity to learn how to ‘give their best’ and be an incredible ambassador for Hawaiʻi.”

For more information about this program, please visit Kapiʻolani CC’s OCET website.

—By Louise Yamamoto