Hospitality Training Should Be Countywide

While we wish the better-paying jobs that come with manufacturing and other segments of the economy were expanding in our county, we also can’t ignore the fact that tourism is one of the few sectors of our economy that is showing any signs of growth.

Knowing this, an idea discussed recently by Jennifer Gibson, co-chair of Jamestown’s Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission, deserves further consideration countywide.

Gibson suggested providing hospitality training to those in the community to assist in advertising local attractions. The suggestions grows out of previous discussions commission members have had in relation to what needs to be available in the Jamestown area once the National Comedy Center is open in 2017. Commission members have said information about local tourist attractions needs to be easily accessible in city hotel rooms and desk clerks should know how to direct people to local restaurants and sites. Such hospitality training would be helpful in Jamestown – particularly if expanded to those who work in restaurants and other businesses that come into regular contact with visitors. If it is helpful in Jamestown, it surely would be helpful throughout our area.

We know, for example, there are hotels popping up around Chautauqua Lake. Hospitality training in Jamestown does no good if it doesn’t include the new facilities in Mayville and Celoron. Conversely, it does no good regionally for Jamestown to have thousands of people visiting the National Comedy Center if they turn around and leave before visiting our region’s wineries, golf courses, Chautauqua Institution or countless other offerings our area offers tourists.

We have a lot of people in the hospitality business in Chautauqua County. Things must change if it is truly to become a hospitality industry here. Gibson’s idea is a good start.