University students gain insight into the inner workings of The Bahamas’ tourism industry
13th March 2020
Nassau, THE BAHAMAS — Executives in The Bahamas’ hospitality sector shared frank insights into managing workplace stress while delivering premier customer service with University of The Bahamas students recently during Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies Week.
Tourism is The Bahamas’ number one industry, accounting for 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Graduates of UB’s Culinary Arts and Tourism Studies programmes are the preferred hires of local tourism and hospitality related enterprises.
Addressing a recent lecture, Ms. Simone Bowe, Director of Human Resources at the Ministry of Tourism’s (MOT) Hospitality Management Department noted that as a vocation, working in the tourism sector, is stressful.
“Hospitality is all about experiences,” she told students gathered in the Harry C. Moore Library & Information Centre, auditorium. “And that’s what people are paying for. They’re paying for experiences and they’re paying for memories. [For] some people, it’s a lifetime desire to do this thing, especially when they want to impress the person that they’re with or this is a dream that they’ve had, maybe since college.”
Ms. Bowe shared that the American Institute of Stress lists workload as the number one cause of stress in the workplace, at 40 percent. Other causes of stress include people issues at 28 percent; balancing work and personal obligations at 20 percent; and lack of job security at six percent.
However, she said, the key causes of stress in The Bahamas’ hospitality industry are the rapidly and constantly changing guest demands. Guests are now in search of “relaxed luxury” vacations, she said, and having paid thousands of dollars for such experiences, are not interested in anything less than perfection.
“With luxury comes a lot of demands for quality and excellence and going above and beyond,” she explained. “And so that increases the level of demand. And when you have people spending $1,500; $5,000; $10,000 a night, their expectations are high. And this industry is already a 24/7 industry. This is an industry that does not close.
“So the demands are high for high quality, fast service, delivery. And so when you have other factors contributing, that’s very stressful.”
Ms. Bowe recounted a situation where guests booked all 299 rooms in a hotel for exclusivity’s sake. In other instances, she said, some guests may make incredible demands of hospitality workers in pursuit of the perfect vacation, honeymoon experience, or even the perfect picture.
“This is what people are asking for; this is what they want,” she said. “And our bosses are saying: ‘make it happen’, because guess what? These people have the money to make it happen. And so your bosses aren’t going to tell them no.”
She warned that in every industry that demands a superior level of customer service, workplace stress is practically guaranteed.
“So it doesn’t matter if you’re in hospitality, if you’re in business, banking, whatever it is,” said Ms. Bowe. “If you have to deal with people, you’re going to experience stress.”
Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies Week was held under the theme, “Managing Stress in the 21st Century Workplace” and included sessions on Stress and the Financial and Economic Environment, Avoiding Burnout, Technology and Stress in a Digital World, Work-Life Balance, and Hospitality Skills and the 21st Century Workplace.
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
2nd Floor, Michael H. Eldon Complex
Oakes Field Campus
P.O. Box N-4912
Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4365
Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Abaco, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world.