Learning French Translates for Tourism Stakeholders

Neil Forrester and Anthea WatkinsAntigua St. John's - The Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) is urging local tourism industry professionals to capitalize on the recent influx of tourists from French-speaking countries by learning the language.

Increased package sales from French tour operators has led to a significant rise in the number of visitors from France and French-speaking countries over the last winter season.

Administrator of the AHTA Learn French, within the AHTA programme, Anthea Watkins, said residents could take advantage of this opportunity that would improve customer service and increase revenue.

“Learning French would open tourism suppliers to a completely new niche market they otherwise would not be able to communicate with,” she said. “Learning French will open the doors to increased communication and increased communication translates to dollars for Antigua & Barbuda.”

She added, “We are particularly encouraging hotel front-line workers and employees in the duty-free areas in St John’s to participate. They are on the frontier. Learning French would not only enrich them, but their customers.”

Learn French with the AHTA is a 12-week course for beginner and intermediate learners. Emphasis is on imparting “basic survival vocabulary” skills including greetings, shopping skills, transportation, and conversational tools. Students will also be introduced to the diverse cultures of France, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.

AHTA General Manager Neil Forrester, who speaks fluent French, said the added bonus for programme graduates is having the opportunity to be selected for the French Cultural Exchange Programme between Antigua & Barbuda and Guadeloupe, organised in partnership with L’Institut de Cooperation Franco Caraibe.

“For those working in hotels that participate in the Tourism Development Fund Dollar-a-Day programme, the exchange programme would be free of charge. They would be able to liaise with persons who speak French and hone their skills,” Forrester said.

The first course began in January, with seven participants, mainly from the hotel industry. However, residents with a passion for the French language are also encouraged to register.

AHTA’s Learn French, within the AHTA programme, begins on June 2. Classes are held Monday through Wednesday between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm at the AHTA’s offices on Newgate Street.

For further information or to register for Learn French with the AHTA, visit http://members.antiguahotels.org/training/ or contact Anthea Watkins at 462-3703 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Reporting by Caribarena news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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2 Comments In This Article   


RE: Learning French Translates for Tourism Stakeholders

#2 jodi » 2014-05-29 21:21

In the sixties, students of CKHS also learned to read and write French. It helped a lot when I visited Paris; I was able to converse with the French people.


Building Human Capacity!

#1 John French II » 2014-05-29 19:03

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! CountryWoMen, Let us encourage Madame Anthea Watkins & acknowledge this worthy initiative by the ABHTA.
In the 60's, students at The AGS & AGHS not only learned to read & write French but to speak the language fluently by total French immersion in Guadeloupe. JFII benefitted from that program & as a Tourist Guide hired by Nicholson's working closely with Yvonne Maginley at The Tourist Board.
Where have the Ministers of Ed & Tourism, BOE, Education Advisory Board gone for these many years?
Half a days sail & 15 minutes by air is a huge potential market that A&B's Tourism Ministry has through black disorientation, decenteredness, & lack of agency not even factored into its main industry five forces of competitiveness. Instead, they chase after North Atlantic Nordic power (Being very deliberate since they have ignored that African American Market spending power is larger than Canada) rather than see the Gold Mine next door in Guadeloupe & Martinique with Euro standards & economic power & a little further afield in Latin America.
In my last Sailing Week, our class was beaten by boats from Argentina & Guadeloupe.
Social Progress is to improve the lives of A&B people particularly the least well off, by GoAB, the private & nonprofit sectors collaborating more effectively & making better use of our resources to solve pressing economic, social & environmental problems.
Oh Gad! Pray Fuh Mi Picknees!

John French II

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