Strategic Plan - Tobago hospitality Institute

Bridging the Service Gap in Tobago through Hospitality Training and Capacity Building

Project: Strategic Plan for the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI)

Client: Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute

Beneficiary: Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute and the People of Tobago

Duration: 9 months

The challenge

The main industry and source of revenues on the island of Tobago is hospitality and tourism. Tobago is characterised by natural beauty, lovely beaches, warm weather, friendly residents, an idyllic atmosphere and a stable geopolitical environment. Tobago is an award-winning eco-tourism destination and boasts of the oldest Forest Reserve in the Western Hemisphere. All of these attributes make up the essential ingredients of the Tobago tourism product.

However, there appeared to be a mismatch between the exceptional tourism product and the level and quality of service on the island. The ‘service gap’ that existed in Tobago needed to be addressed immediately in order for the island to exploit its natural advantages in tourism and connect these with dynamic competitive advantages.

The main institution supporting the industry to bring about a transformation of the quality of service in Tobago, was the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI).

THTI possessed a comprehensive training and education programme comparable to other schools in the region. However, there were a number of challenges facing the Institute that severely limited its potential to effectively serve the industry.

Tourism Intelligence International was therefore approached by the Board of Directors of the THTI to carry out an institutional review and to develop a Strategic Plan for the school.


In order to achieve the results of this assignment the following activities were carried out by a team of 4 experts:

  • Industry Diagnostic and Baseline Study of existing tourism education in Tobago
  • Training Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis
  • Review and Evaluation of Exiting Curriculum
  • Scientific and Systematic Expert Interviews and Stakeholder collaboration
  • Carried out an Institutional Reviewing of the THTI
  • Review and Analysis of the Private Sector HR requirements
  • Identification of on-the-job training and middle management training
  • Train-the-Trainer Programmes
  • Strategic Planning Workshop amongst Management and Lecturers at the Institute
  • Crafted a Tourism Human Resources Development Plan
  • Developed a Corporate Strategy for the Institute
  • Counterpart Training


  • Optimisation of the Curriculum
  • Successful establishment of an Apprenticeship System
  • Developed a Customer Care and Tourism Awareness programmes for all front-line staff
  • Identified skills gaps in the industry and made recommendations for appropriate training programmes to fill those gaps and meet the needs of the industry
  • Delivered two one-day strategic planning workshops amongst lecturers and a separate one for the Board and Senior Management
  • Made recommendations for human resource allocation and mobilization, and organisational restructuring
  • Delivered a comprehensive Baseline Study with workforce and manpower statistics, and training needs for the industry
  • Delivered a Three-Year Corporate Strategy and Action Plan with 50 strategic initiatives for the core departments of the institute including:
    • Food and Beverage
    • Engineering
    • Information Technology
    • Finance and Administration
  • As a result of the various techniques and approaches used, four technical documents were produced that provide integral components and foundation elements of the Strategy and Action Plan:
    • The Human Resource Baseline Study for the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (August, 2008);
    • The Destination Marketing Study for the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (August, 2008);
    • Benchmarking Study for the Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute – “Good Practices in the Management of Hospitality & Tourism Schools” (November, 2008); and
    • Institutional Review and Analysis of the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (December, 2008 and updated September 2010)
    • The Three-Year Action Plan (2009-2011) – updated September 2010