Crash course for foresters

Kalimpong, Aug. 27: Come new tourist season, and visitors staying at numerous forest lodges in the subdivision can expect better service — thanks to the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation.

The WBFDC, which runs boarding facilities in places like Lava, Loleygaon and Jaldhaka, conducted a 10-day orientation workshop for 30 of its staff members with the help of the Good Shepherd Institute of Hospitality Management here.

The theme of the workshop that began on August 17 and concluded on Saturday was “foundation of quality hospitality”. The trainees were given a crash course on various aspects of hospitality management — from presentation of food to behaviour management.

“We felt there was a need to give our staff members a basic training on hospitality management, given that all of them are foresters more adept at protecting the wild rather than attending to guests,” said T.S. Murli, the divisional manager of the WBFDC.

The trainees, too, said the programme was of immense help to them. “We had very little idea on how to work in the hospitality sector. The workshop has given us insight into the working of the industry,” said S. Pradhan, a forest employee from Lava.

According to Alvin Lama, the director of Good Shepherd Institute, the workshop was the second such programme organised by them for the foresters. In 2005, the institute had conducted a similar programme for another batch of forest employees of north Bengal.

“This is part of our effort to reach out to various segments of the tourism industry. We don’t want to restrict ourselves to our own students alone. As the only professional institute of its kind in the hills, we are willing to share our expertise with anyone associated with the tourism industry,” he added.

The institute handed out certificates of participation to all the trainees.

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