Human resources part of NMI destination enhancement, says Arenovski

PEOPLE, or human resources, are an often overlooked component, but they play a big part in destination enhancement in the CNMI as it tries to attract more tourists, according to Jim Arenovski, principal of Island Training Solutions which is Latte Training Academy’s exclusive partner.

Arenovski, who was a guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting on Tuesday, said whenever destination enhancement is mentioned, everyone thinks it’s only about keeping the beaches and streets clean, getting rid of dilapidated buildings and making the island more attractive.

“There is a missing piece in the campaign for destination enhancement and that is the people, or the human resources which play a critical part in the destination enhancement. How do we train the people here? Are the staffers at the hotels that tourists stay in great? It’s not just the physical appearance of the island; we need to make sure the people at the hotels, restaurants, tour companies and all other entities of hospitality get the right message.

Jim Arenovski

“Visitors staying here don’t just appreciate the beautiful hotels, but great people and service, too. Our long term campaign involves enhancing human resources in the CNMI and there is work to be done.”

He said they want to encourage high school and college students to take over various posts in the tourism industry.

But he also acknowledged that young people often don’t want to start at the bottom.

“So we have to tell them that we all started somewhere else, and worked our way up, and that is a message that we need to continue to extend to our young people. Managers didn’t start as managers; a lot of lot them started as waiters, bellboys and held other entry level positions. We want to tell the young people this is not a silver bullet type of thing but that they have to have training, and start at the bottom.”

In line with the efforts to build a local human resources base, Latte Training Academy continues to register students in the newly launched American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute or AHLEI certification   program.

Arenovski said 17 graduates received AHLEI certification in the spring of last year, and 12 of them are working now.

“That’s a good turnout. Some of them are working at the Pacific Islands Club, Fiesta Resort Club, Hyatt Regency Saipan and Mariana Resort & Spa. Two of them are on Guam to attend college but have also secured employment   at the Outrigger and Palmridge Hotels,” Arenovski said.

He said AHLEI certification is one that is globally recognized . The certification coursesoffered by the Latte Training Academy began in May last year in partnership with the CNMI Public School System.

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