Low labor productivity plagues Vietnam’s tourism industry



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Despite recent robust tourism growth, productivity remains very low, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, director of development at Vietnam’s Fulbright University, said at the 2018 Vietnam Travel and Tourism Summit on Wednesday.

In 2000, tourism revenues in Vietnam were $ 1.23 billion, and they had climbed to $ 22.7 billion last year. However, it was only VND 77 million ($ 3,297) per worker in the industry, or 40 percent and 45 percent of those in Thailand and Malaysia respectively.

Thanh attributed this to lack of skills and biased training.

The current tourism scenario requires workers with various skills including general knowledge, foreign languages, soft skills, professionalism and management skills, but the training mainly focuses on specific job skills and ignores practical requirements, a he declared.

Pham Hong Dung, deputy general manager of Vietnamese private company Muong Thanh Group, which owns more than 50 hotels and hotel projects across the country, said many workers in the industry are recent graduates.

Their training is therefore a long process in Muong Thanh, taking two years for a manager and five to seven years for a hotel manager, he said.

Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Director of Development at Fulbright University Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress / Ngoc Thanh

Thanh said pre-employment training should be based on Vietnamese tourism industry standards so that they gain practical work experience under the guidance of industry experts. He also stressed the need for an open digital platform for training.

“Vietnam’s National Tourism Administration should collaborate with leading technology companies and schools to establish an open platform as a center for digital human resource development.”

Vietnam is in the midst of a tourism boom, with more than 14.12 million foreign visitors in the first 11 months of 2018, an increase of 21.3% year-on-year. The country is targeting 15 to 17 million arrivals this year.

Last year, the country received 12.9 million foreign visitors, according to the General Statistics Office.

Statistics from the training department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism show that Vietnam has 192 institutions offering training related to tourism.

On average, they produce 20,000 workers for the industry each year.

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