Service providers in hospitality and tourism are struggling to keep up, as Vietnam’s international and domestic tourism market continues to boom.
Speaking at a tourism conference at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus, Tran Phu Cuong, Head of the International Cooperation Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, predicted that by 2025, the number of international tourists would climb to 32 million and domestic tourists would reach 110 million, raising tourism revenue to US$64 billion.
However, while these growth projections are strong – and if achieved will boost the economy, jobs and international reputation of Vietnam – many industry experts are concerned that the service industry won’t be able to meet the huge demand.
According to Mr Cuong, such a huge surge in tourist numbers will make meeting demand difficult, and pose big challenges for facilities, services, product quality and manpower to ensure the industry’s sustainable development.
“The high increase in the number of visitors will raise the number of direct jobs to 4.6 million in 2025 and 7.2 million in 2030. I think that manpower development should be given first priority, as product and service quality must depend on the quality of human resources,” said Mr Cuong.
According to a recent report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, of the 1.3 million employees working in the tourism sector, only 43 per cent have tourism skills or expertise, and half do not speak a foreign language.
But some experts at the conference admitted that this was a difficult problem to resolve quickly, as very few schools in Vietnam offered training courses that covered general knowledge, foreign language command, soft skills, professionalism and managerial ability, as well as a connection between practical experience and the Vietnam Tourism Occupational Skills (VTOS).
“The Government has also affirmed that human resource training is a core issue. Therefore, the Law on Tourism 2017 asserts that the State will have policies supporting tourism training,” Mr Cuong said.
RMIT Vietnam Head of School of Business & Management Associate Professor Mathews Nkhoma said the University had anticipated the growth in the country’s tourism sector and its increasing popularity as a tourism destination. The University’s Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality program is being offered in line with international standards, with subjects aimed at developing practical skills, supplying the latest knowledge on hotel and tourism services and building managerial abilities.
“We understand the importance of tourism for Vietnam and the Asia-Pacific region. The industry has directly created 2.4 million jobs, and is estimated to rise to nearly three million jobs by 2028, which will account for almost five per cent of the total number of jobs,” said Associate Professor Nkhoma.
Mr Cuong and Professor Nkhoma spoke at a three-day event, Travel & Tourism Research in the Global South: Advancing through Cooperation and Collaboration, held by RMIT Vietnam’s School of Business & Management, in cooperation with Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Travel and Tourism Research Association. They addressed participants from universities and organisations around the world, including Australia, Britain, China, Fiji, France, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Scotland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United States and Vietnam.
Story: Thuy Le