The quality of tourism products mostly depends on the staff’s
qualification. Meanwhile, the question of how to improve the staff to develop
tourism still beats Vietnamese high ranking officials.
Deficient in quantity and bad in quality
Vietnam had fulfilled its plan of receiving six million of foreign travelers
and 30 million of domestic travelers by the end of 2011. It hopes to receive 8
million foreign travelers and 35 domestic travelers by 2015. Meanwhile, the
workforce in the tourism sector is forecasted to satisfy 75 percent only of the
Vietnam now has some 500,000 direct workers and nearly 1 million indirect
workers in the tourism sector. This means that in order to serve 8 million
foreign and 35 million domestic travelers by 2015; it would need 30,000 workers
at different qualification levels. Meanwhile, it is expected that Vietnam would
have 18,000 workers only.
A report by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism shows that only 50
percent of workers have been trained in profession. A survey by SNV on the
workers at big tourism centers like Sa Pa (Lao Cai province), Hanoi and Hue
shows that the staff here does not have the English skill standards needed for
Nguyen Van Quynh, Managing Director of Viet Kitchen chain said that all the
workers the chain is employing need to be re-trained, even though they have
undergone training courses.
He complained that tourism vocational schools now focus on providing theoretical
knowledge, while students do not have the chance for practicing. Almost all the
graduates lack necessary skills, especially communication skills.
According to Ha Van Sieu, Head of the Tourism Research and Development
Institute, while 3-4 star hotels have qualified staff, lower grade hotels for
popular travelers are facing the staff crisis.
Due to the lack of qualified workers, tourism service providers have to accept
untrained workers in the high season to serve the high demand. Especially, new
tourism sites recruit the workers who previously worked in the agricultural
production, which has led to the bad quality of services.
“Quality”, not “quantity” targeted
In drawing up a plan to develop the tourism industry in the next 10 years,
relevant ministries have emphasized that quality, not quantity, would be the
most important target for the tourism industry development. This means that
Vietnam targets the markets which have high spending and strives to persuade
travelers stay for longer time in Vietnam.
In order to do that, Vietnam needs to offer suitable tourism products that fit
high income earners. Of course, the products need to have high quality, and they
are decided by the qualification of the staff in the tourism sector.
Pham Trung Luong, Deputy Head of the Tourism Research and Development Institute,
admitted that the question about if Vietnam can have qualified workforce for the
tourism sector by 2020 remains answered.
Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National
Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said tourism complexes do not want to spend
money on training, while they just try to lure trained officers from other
firms. The lack of qualified staff has led to the stiff competition among
tourism sites, especially the ones in the central region, such as Phan Thiet –
Mui Ne, Nha Trang and Tuy Hoa.
Dao emphasized that in order to prepare the labor force for the tourism
industry, involved parties need to join forces to organize training courses to
the orders of enterprises.