Vietnam’s tourism is facing a severe shortage of manpower, which may hinder the development of the industry in the time ahead, the Government Portal reported.

The tourism industry demands an additional 40,000 workers annually but the number of people majoring in tourism is merely around 15,000 per year, of whom holders of college and university degrees make up only 12%, statistics from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed.

Among 1.3 million tourism employees nationwide, only 42% were trained in tourism, 38% from other majors and 20% untrained formally.

The industry faces not only shortage of workforce but also its poor qualifications as Vietnam’s tourism productivity is ranked at the lowest level in the region, at US$3,477/person/year, less than half of that of Thailand and 1/15 that of Singapore.

Chairman and CEO of Vietravel Tour Company Nguyen Quoc Ky blamed the poor training for insufficiency of essential skills as well as poor foreign language proficiency of tourism employees. It usually takes tour companies at least 6 to 12 months to retrain the newly recruited staff.

Besides, the existing training programs lack practicality and are deemed overly theoretical, especially in foreign language training.

Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism Bui Ta Hoang Vu proposed a solution to narrow the gap between supply and demand for highly qualified manpower in the tourism industry.

Accordingly, localities should make projections of the growth pace of the industry as accurate as possible as well as the needed manpower for five or ten coming years.

The projections should be detailed, with special attention to direct and indirect labor structure, general labor structure and highly skilled labor demand, which may help facilitate training activities.

Vu from Vietravel said that it is necessary to establish school majoring in tourism with an updated training program in line with the growth of global and Vietnamese tourism.

Besides, the connection between schools, enterprises and the state’s tourism management agencies is also indispensable as universities should work out the teaching plans according to international standard and keep close linkage with tour operators to create a practical environment for students’ internship. Hanoitimes

Ha An