Local media quoted Vietnam Tourism Association vice chairman, Vu The Binh, saying the country has enough tourism schools, but the training quality is low, and schools are not turning out well-trained workers.

“The demand for tourism and hospitality workers will rise 20% in the next five years… more enterprises have entered the tourism market and hundreds of new hotels will open… tourism schools should be restructured so that they can provide the market with better trained people.”

Vietnam is fast catching up on neighbour Thailand attracting more European visitors, who are seeking less crowded and commercialised beach resorts.

But the downside is the standard of hospitality services and the ability of staff to anticipate the needs of tourists and resolve issues proactively.

The country has 346 tourism training centres, but those graduating usually need to undergo further training after they are employed by travel firms, the tourism association claimed.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, 2.25 million Vietnamese worked in the tourism sector as of 2015, with 750,000 of them directly serving tourists.

The country’s tourism industry will need around 870,000 new workers by 2020 to keep up with anticipated growth.

Experts have advised the industry to establish an international standard tourism academy, or a tourism university in Vietnam to train skilled workers. However, universities offering majors in hospitality and tourism focus on theory and fail to offer hands-on training. It’s a textbook environment where most of the lessons learned have little or no value when entering the tourism workforce.

For January to November, this year, Vietnam welcomed 9,004,039 international tourists growing 25.4% over the same period last year.

By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit - TTR Weekly - December 30, 2016