The central province of Binh Thuan, a major tourism hub with coastal resorts, faces a lack of trained staff for the tourism industry, particularly in management.

About 12,000 people are working for the province's tourism industry, and the figure had been up by 10 percent on average each year. Despite the increase in the number of trained staff in recent years, the quality of human resources had failed to meet demand from local companies.

Vo Hoang Tuyet Linh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the sector lacked good managers and the quality of the workforce was below standard.

Speaking at a tourism conference held in the province recently, she said that more than 44 percent of tourism human resources lacked sufficient education, and that less than 5 percent had attended university or post-university courses. In addition, their foreign language skills were poor.

Bui Van Giao, founder of the Phan Thiet University, said the number of students choosing tourism as a subject was low compared to the number of job openings in the industry. The number of students studying tourism was only 70 percent of the total enrolled at business administration faculties.

The province estimates that by 2015 it will have 12,000 rooms, and that staff will total 40,000 and rise to 78,000 by 2010.

Participants at the conference said that more vocational training centres should be set up to improve the quality of human resources and that schools should cooperate with other countries to learn about tourism education.

Binh Thuan is becoming an attractive tourist attraction for both domestic and international tourists, especially those from Russia, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea.

In the first nine months of this year, the province welcomed over 2.5 million tourists, earning more than 3.6 trillion VND (196.2 million USD).-VNA