Vietnam’s tourism is facing a shortage in both quality and quantity, hindering the potential development of the industry as many businesses are willing to settle for non-professionals.
Even though many programs have been set up to develop the human resources necessary for the industry, the reality still seems grim as the requirements are not being met.
Within the past ten years, the number of applicants for housekeeping training has dramatically decreased even though the market’s demand has increased, head of the Housekeeping Management Club of Vietnam Nguyen Quang said at the “Creating memorable experiences for customers” conference on Saturday.
Many businesses, especially hotel and accommodation providers, agree to hire staff that have not yet had any training, have not graduated from high school, or elderly staff just to meet the demand.
This has a negative impact on the industry as these staff members lack professionalism and necessary skills to do the job properly.
Quang insisted that the lack of qualified staff is not the only reason Vietnamese accommodation providers are lagging behind their international counterparts.
The absence of standards at Vietnamese hotels also contributes to suppressing the improvement in the services in this sector.
While international chain hotels have a sufficient supervisory system which obliges the staff to do the job sufficiently and in line with international standards, Vietnamese hotels do not even have a standardized system and proper supervision to guarantee the quality.
“With the human resources already lacking the training and supervision not being strict enough, service quality will suffer,” Quang said at the conference.
Echoing Quang’s view, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Huu Tho admited that the Vietnamese tourist industry is still facing many challenges, including how to increase the visitor satisfaction index.
In order to a chieve that goal, human resources need to be significantly improved.
“Many hotels were able to maintain their brand and meet international standards, while others were even praised by global organizations,” Tho said.
“However, if we consider meticulousness and professional attitude, there is still room for improvement, which results from the lack of properly trained staff,” he added.
According to Do Thi Hong Xoan, head of the Vietnam Hotel Association, the quality of staff does not keep pace with the tourism development speed and quality staff shortage gives rise to a considerable number of unhappy customers.
Another challenge confronting hotels is using high-technology equipment to improve quality when employees are not trained or qualified.
Thuy Anh, 25, was surprised to see that none of the questions asked by employers in hospitality were related to qualifications and training, as she attended a recruitment day at Kent International College in Ho Chi Minh City.
“An employment company gave me a scenario where a visitor was in a dilemma and asked me how I would resolve it. They even asked what my plan was for the next five years,” Thuy Anh said, indicating that most of the interview questions were about personal development, characteristics, and survival skills.
According to Thai Thi Phuong Hoa, vice-director of Kent International College, the main criteria that tourism businesses are looking for in order to improve their service quality are foreign language and customer service skills, both of which can only be attained through education and practice.
“Human resources in Vietnam’s tourism industry still lack proper training in hospitality, tour guiding, or proper qualifications recognized internationally,” Hoa said.