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VN needs tourism facelift with Economic Community on horizon

Update: June, 19/2015 - 10:51
Tourism workers will need to bolster their skills and qualifications to handle the growing number of tourists in the country and improve their chances at winning competitive positions in other ASEAN countries. — Illustrative image/ Photo dantri
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam needs a tourism skills council to ensure it takes advantage of accelerating regional integration; a warning participants heard at a workshop co-organized by the General Department of Vocational Training and the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Wednesday in Ha Noi.

Tourism is one of eight occupations identified by mutual recognition arrangements within the ASEAN Economic Community, set to start at end of this year.

Tourism workers will need to bolster their skills and qualifications to handle the growing number of tourists in the country and improve their chances at winning competitive positions in other ASEAN countries.

Speaking at the workshop, Duong Duc Lan, director of the General Department of Vocational Training, said Viet Nam's vocational training must be overhauled to meet the demands of the new economic community.

Lan said the quality of training quality in some professions, including tourism, had to reach levels of developed countries to improve the country's competitiveness.

With almost 3,300 kilometres of coastline and 7.8 million international visitors a year, tourism has become an important driving force behind Viet Nam.

The US$10.7 billion industry is a major source of income and job creation. According to the Viet Nam Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the sector creates jobs for 1.7 million workers.

However, whether workers' skills are relevant to the work they are doing or the businesses they dream of starting are major concerns in Viet Nam.

The ILO and the tourism departments of Quang Nam and Hue surveyed over 200 tourism enterprises in central Viet Nam in the beginning of 2014. Employers across the board said that vocational school graduates' skills don't satisfy job requirements. The report cited weak industry participation in training activities as a cause.

ILO Viet Nam Director Gyorgy Sziraczki said a tourism skills council with representatives of businesses, the Government, training institutions and other stakeholders could help improve skill training.

So far, a number of response efforts have begun, including revising tourism occupational standards (VTOS) to suit international standards with the help of the EU-funded Tourism Capacity Enhancement Programme.

According to statistics from VNAT, ASEAN countries welcomed 97.2 million foreign visitors in 2014, up three per cent over the previous year.

The ASEAN economic community's Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP) will take effect in all member countries. — VNS

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