A report says Vietnam now has 284 schools that train workers for the tourism sector. These include 62 universities (4-year training), 80 junior colleges (3-year training) and 117 vocational schools.
According to the Vietnam Research Institute for Tourism Development, the tourism sector would need 620,000 direct workers by 2015 and 870,000 by 2020. As such, both the demand and the supply are profuse.
However, the participants at a recent human resource conference heard that the highest unemployment rate has been reported for the hotel management majoring graduates.
It’s quite a surprise if noting that there are 13,000 tourism accommodations throughout the country, while the number of the tourism accommodations nationwide has been increasing rapidly in the key tourism sites.
The workforce redundancy has led to the fact that a high percentage of graduates have to take untrained jobs. Others take the job of managers at mini hotels. Meanwhile, the luxurious 4 or 5 star hotels in Vietnam have been managed by foreign groups which charge very high fees.
Do Thi Hong Xoan, Chair of the Vietnam Hotel Association, explained that the quality of the labor force in the tourism sector is still low which still cannot meet the international standards.
Xoan pointed out that tourism school graduates have not been well trained in theory and practice. They have poor knowledge, bad foreign language skills and especially, they don’t have necessary supporting skills such as the skill of handling situations or understanding customers.
Also according to Xoan, the majority of the working restaurant and hotel managers do not finish tourism schools, but they graduated economics, foreign trade schools, or they were trained overseas.
Regarding the qualification of tour guides, the director of a travel firm has noted that tourism school graduates cannot work as the guides for inbound tours, because they are not good at foreign languages. Meanwhile, the graduates from foreign trade schools or foreign language skills are good at foreign languages, but they don’t have professional skills.
As a result, travel firms always have to retrain the workers after the recruitment. Especially, the firms complained that it’s very difficult to find the tour guides who can speak less common foreign languages.
Do Dinh Cuong, Director of Support Travel, said in order to improve the quality of the workforce in the tourism sector, it’s necessary to change the way of training.
Cuong has noted that the graduates of vocational schools have better professional skills than the university graduates because of the higher pragmatism of vocational schools. Meanwhile, university students mostly spend their time on theoretical knowledge, while their internship hours just account for 10 percent of the total time of the training courses.
However, the big disadvantage of vocational schools is that they cannot produce high class personnel, such as hotel managers, or international tour guides because of the current regulations that the tour guides must have university degree.
Cuong believes that it would be better to increase the internship period of students, so that they can learn more necessary skills for their future careers.
However, experts say it’ll be very difficult to amend the training curriculums. Training establishments, which don’t keep close relations with travel firms, cannot send their students to the firms for the internship.