|Đầm Trầu Beach on Côn Đảo Islands is one of the most beautiful on the island. CNN has named the Côn Đảo one of Asia’s crowd-free vacation getaways. — Photo ivivu.com|
HCM CITY — Resorts and hotels on the Côn Đảo Islands off the southern coastal province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu are hiring hundreds of employees for various positions earlier than usual this year because of the increasing number of tourists.
“Tourism establishments on the island usually begin hiring personnel beginning in March, but the move began early this year,” the owner of the Dương Thủy Seafood shop said.
The Poulo Condor Resort, for example, is looking for 33 new employees for 14 types of jobs, while the Sài Gòn Côn Đảo Resort and the Six Senses Côn Đảo Resort are recruiting seven new staff each.
Côn Đảo authorities offer training courses to residents, but young people often jump from job to job, a representative from Sài Gòn Côn Đảo Resort’s recruitment department said.
More employees have been accepting jobs at smaller hotels that have higher salaries, but lower bonuses, than bigger companies, causing a hiring crunch at larger properties.
Many tourism establishments are also struggling to hire people from the mainland to work in restaurants and hotels.
The cost of living on the island is relatively high, so it is difficult for workers to stay long term if they do not have relatives to live with on the island.
In 2018, Côn Đảo welcomed more than 286,000 visitors, an increase of 17.3 per cent compared over the previous year, a strong rise in domestic customers thanks to more convenient transport.
During the peak season, Việt Nam Air Services Company (VASCO) operates 20 flight services to the island per day, while the Vũng Tàu - Côn Đảo boat with a capacity of nearly 400 passengers operates daily.
The Sóc Trăng - Côn Đảo boat provides four trips per day, carrying more than 300 passengers each trip.
More domestic customers are expected to increase this year thanks to a new high-speed express boat from Vũng Tàu, which began operation on February 15.
The trip takes three hours compared to the previous 13 hours on slower boats.
The express boat, with capacity of nearly 600 passengers, departs from Cầu Đá Port in Vũng Tàu City to Bến Đầm Port on Côn Đảo Island at 8am and returns at 1.30pm on the same day.
The prices are VNĐ660,000 to VNĐ1.2 million (US$28.4-51) one way.
Côn Đảo, located 180km from southern Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, is accessible by air and boat.
Côn Đảo once was used to house political prisoners during the French colonial era, and the US-backed Sài Gòn regime later imprisoned leading Vietnamese revolutionaries in the infamous cells known as "tiger cages" on the island.
The old prison buildings are still standing and are open to the public as a small museum tracing Côn Đảo’s history.
Côn Đảo also boasts pristine natural beauty with forested hills, deserted sandy beaches and extensive coral reefs.
Recently, the southern coastal province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu authorities approved a master plan for tourism development to 2025 with a vision to 2030. The province will prioritise development of adventure tourism, eco-tourism and nature tourism on the islands.
It will also develop tourism products associated with relics, cultural and architectural works, and promote spiritual tourism, including visits to pagodas and temples.
Major sites include the Côn Đảo prison, Hàng Dương cemetery, the memorial house of heroic martyr Võ Thị Sáu in Đất Đỏ District, and other historic sites such as Dinh Mountain, Minh Đạm Mountain and Long Phước Tunnel. — VNS