Staff shortage still a stiff challenge for tourism firms

By Vu Le   April 9, 2019 | 05:05 pm PT
Staff shortage still a stiff challenge for tourism firms
Hotels are seen in the resort town of Nha Trang, central Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/HelloRF Zcool
Finding qualified people to work remains a big challenge for Vietnam’s hospitality industry, undermining its competitiveness.

Results of a survey released at the Vietnam Tourism Property Forum 2019 by the Hanoi-based consultancy Economica Vietnam showed companies with top hotel and resort properties in the country were struggling to employ enough staff.

Although 36 percent of these companies want to invest more in the tourism properties and 45 percent want to expand their business, they are constrained by the limited supply of human resources.

"Vietnam’s tourism industry might lose out in their own playground when foreign agencies pour in. The tourism service sector now only meets 60 percent of personnel demand," Nguyen Thai Phien, senior director at real estate firm Novaland, said at the forum.

The lack of skilled staff is another challenge, Phien said at a the forum. Only about 40 percent of tour guides are fluent in English, 5 percent in Chinese and 2 percent in Korean, he added.

China and South Koreans were the biggest feeder markets for Vietnamese tourism in the first quarter of the year.

Echoing Phien, Kai Marcus Schroter, general director of the Hanoi-based Hospitality Tourism Management Co., said that he has found it difficult to find enough staff for popular tourist destinations like Phu Quoc Island, and has to look in other cities to find and train people.

The shortage often results from people not continuing to pursue a career in hospitality despite being trained in the industry, said industry insiders.

In Nha Trang, the famous beach town in central Vietnam, the CEO of 4-star Rosaka Hotel, Nguyen Anh Vu, said he had to recruit new staff every month as they switch easily to whichever hotel is offering better wages and benefits. "Even lowering the standard doesn’t help me to recruit enough people," Vo told local press.

In order to have enough staff for the tourism sector in the next 10-15 years, the Vietnamese government needs to invest more in training, industry insiders said.

Tourism has been booming in Vietnam in recent years. Last year, the country welcomed 15.5 million international visitors and 80 million local visitors, up 19.9 percent and 9.3 percent respectively over 2017.

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