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Phu Quoc in urgent need of tourism professionals

Update: April, 25/2014 - 09:37
According to statistics compiled by the district, 174 tourism projects are underway at present in Phu Quoc. It has 125 hotels and other forms of accommodation and 75 vessels offering sightseeing tours. — Photo dulichviet

KIEN GIANG (VNS)— Phu Quoc, the island district in the southern province of Kien Giang urgently needs more than 6,000 qualified workers for its hospitality sector, local authorities say.

They explain the urgency by pointing to many hi-end resorts and four or five-star hotels, with more than 2,000 rooms, coming online by late 2014 and in early 2015.

Huynh Quang Hung, vice chairman of the district's People's Committee, also told Viet Nam News that the number of tourists to the island is expected to surge following the enactment of a 30-day visa exemption policy for foreign passport holders.

He said that the policy, which took effect on March 10, has possibly contributed to the increase of 15-17 per cent in the number of foreign visitors to Phu Quoc in the year's first quarter.

With the visa exemption, visitors can go to Phu Quoc by transiting at Ha Noi's Noi Bai Airport or HCM City's Tan Son Nhat Airport, he said.

In addition, a Russian tourism firm is offering direct flights from Russia to Phu Quoc. The flight operates once every 10-12 days. The district is also planning to launch more international air routes.

Tourism businesses recruiting and providing on the job training to locals is one of the measures being taken to address the labour shortage, Hung said.

However, he added, meeting the demand for workers in the tourism sector was more challenging because hi-end resorts and hotels require very professional workers fluent in the English language.

Hung said the district has offered to organise free training courses to residents whose land has been taken for local projects, but most were not interested in taking part.

Therefore, the district will also recruit migrant workers from other provinces.

Hung said that the district administration has called for more investment and engagement from employers in the training of workers.

Phu Quoc will work to tap better its potential in maritime and eco-tourism and one of the measures it will take is to reduce service fees in this area, he said.

He explained that the 50-60 percent drop in electricity prices (previously, power prices on the island were higher than on the mainland) also creates favourable conditions for the district to cut down its service charges.

According to statistics compiled by the district, 174 tourism projects are underway at present in Phu Quoc. It has 125 hotels and other forms of accommodation and 75 vessels offering sightseeing tours.

Phu Quoc had targeted increasing the number of visitors to the island from 416,000 to 500,000 this year, but the actual figure could go up to 600,000, Hung said. — VNS

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