Chronic shortage in tourism personnel

February 17, 2023 | 21:30
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After more than two years of COVID-19, most tourism personnel had switched to other occupations to make a living. Now that tourism has reopened, improving the quality of training for the tourism workforce has become imperative to meet the ever-burgeoning development requirements of the industry.

Commenting on the current tourism concerns, Cao Thi Ngoc Lan, standing vice chairwoman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said that Vietnam is facing a chronic shortage of tourism personnel, especially on high-season occasions such as public holidays or Lunar New Year.

"There is a serious shortage of highly qualified human resources, especially regarding senior management", said Lan. “Currently, the industry needs about 485,000 employees for its tourist accommodation centres, of which management personnel counts for about 45,000 people. As Vietnam's tourism growth forecast for the next decade is quite optimistic, the sector would need about 60,000 employees per year on average from now until 2030".

Chronic shortage in tourism personnel

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism confirms the need for an additional 60,000 qualified employees every year, yet vocational training schools and tourism colleges currently only produce about 15,000 candidates, resulting in the serious shortfall.

Every year, Vietnamese students joining colleges and universities abroad specialising in tourism and hospitality account for about 5-7 per cent of the total number of students entering tourism training institutions. It's clear both domestic and foreign training units can only meet a fraction of the demand in the near future.

Figures from the Vietnam Tourism Association show that by 2025, the country would need from 950,000 to more than one million rooms, increasing to 1.3-1.45 million rooms by 2030. By 2025, the demand for employees at tourism accommodations is expected to exceed 800,000 people, surpassing more than one million by 2030.

During the golden age of the Vietnamese tourism industry in 2019, the country had more than 2.5 million employees in this field, including 750,000 direct employees.

In 2020, due to severe impacts of COVID-19, international tourism froze, and tourist-related businesses had to cut staff by as much as 70-80 per cent.

As a result, when the industry reopened completely from March 15 last year, businesses faced critical shortages in personnel.

After nearly a year since, many businesses are still unable to operate smoothly due to the lack of personnel, despite continuously posting job recruitment advertisements.

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