Illustrative image (Source :vietnamtourism.gov.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam hopes to welcome 8.5 million foreign visitors and 60 million domestic travellers in 2016, earning a total of 370 trillion VND (16.8 billion USD) in revenue, heard a conference in Hanoi on January 15.

Addressing the event, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan said the country’s tourism sector faced many challenges and prolonged drawbacks during mid-2014 to mid 2015 - due to impacts from economic difficulties in the region and around the world.

However, the sector rejoiced from the last half of 2015, when international tourist numbers bounced back remarkably. In particular, the number of arrivals from the Republic of Korea rose by 31.3 percent to surpass the one million figure, Tuan acknowledged.

Tuan said the strong recovery helped to increase the number of foreign tourists to the country in 2015 to 7.9 million, a slight growth of 0.9 percent compared to 2014.

He added the number of domestic travellers in the previous year was 57 million. Earnings from domestic travellers reached 337.8 trillion VND (15.4 billion USD), the highest on record.

On the occasion, the Guide to Vietnam Tourism Occupational Standards (VTOS) - 2013 document, was handed over to the Vietnam Administration of Tourism by the European Union (EU).

This latest bilingual document was produced by the EU-funded: Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (EU-ESRT).

The VTOS - 2013 version covers six major occupations: front office operation, housekeeping operations, food and beverage service, food preparation, travel and tour operations and tour guiding.

It also introduces four specialised occupations: on-site tour guiding, tourist boat services, hotel management and small accommodation operations.

The document was developed to fit with the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals, and meets the regulations of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP).

The document is designed for the training activities of small and medium enterprises, hotels, travel companies, schools and can be downloaded at the website http://vtos.esrt.vn.

Chairman of the Vietnam Administration of Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan asserted that once Vietnamese tourism workers meet the document’s demands, they can confidently move to other ASEAN countries to seek better oppertunities.

Director of the EU-ESRT project Vu Quoc Tri said Vietnamese workers need to improve their foreign language skills and professionalism, in order to compete with skilled labour from other countries in the bloc.-VNA