Can Vietnam’s hospitality industry lead in the creation of jobs?

Vietnam’s tourism growth continued to expand in 2018, with the country receiving 15.4 million foreign arrivals in 2018, up 19.9% from a year earlier, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Growth is expected to continue for the next several years and by 2020, VNAT is expecting 18 ~ 20 million foreign visitors and 82 million domestic tourists. The substantial growth in tourism is tied to a huge potential for employment in hospitality industry and has many experts asking whether the tourism industry can be a source of long-term employment and provide jobs that are both meaningful and pay workers good wages.

There are three main streams in the hospitality industry. 

#1 – Food & Beverages – The largest revenue source in the hospitality industry and includes catering, fast-food eateries and high-end restaurants.

#2 – Accommodation – Hotel, resort and bed and breakfast lodging

#3 – Transportation – Airlines, buses, cruise ships and trains; and the personnel for each. Flight attendants and other transportation segment staff function as food servers and hoteliers in their effort to provide food and drink and a comfortable and unforgettable experience. 

Currently its estimated that Vietnam needs a minimum of 40,000 new workers each year. Colleges, universities and travel schools provide about 15,000 new workers each year, yet only 12% of new workers are college and university graduates. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, many students who have a bachelor’s or college degree still need further training in foreign languages and soft skills.

Government figures point to the fact that the tourism industry faces a severe shortage of qualified workers, and this is not just in managerial positions but also tour guides, front office workers, housekeepers, and bartenders.

Strong growth in tourism has led to a higher demand for human resources in the hospitality industry than ever before. In recent years hospitality has always been in the top three most desirable human resources sectors. The monthly income for managers in hotels can range from $650 ~ $2,000 USD per month, depending on the scale of the hotel.

In order to encourage the growth of the tourism industry, the government is licensing additional private schools to teach travel industry management as well as other skills needed by the various industry components.

It’s also asking public colleges and universities to strengthen their tourism programs. According to representatives from VNAT, colleges should be teaching a variety of IT and web skills in their curriculum so that they can provide students with skills necessary for the travel industry business in the 4.0 business era.

VNAT is also reportedly looking at the development of “soft skill courses” that can be taught online and that will rely heavily on courses and lectures that can be taught using videos. According to one source, they want to have universities that are teaching multi-media studies create courses that can supplement in-class teaching and be used to educate other people in the industry, and they expect several universities to begin programs in the 2019 ~ 2020 academic year.