A seminar was held in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on April 22 to discuss measures to develop human resource for the tourism sector in the Mekong Delta region.

The event drew the participation of 180 scientists, leaders of the Southwestern Region Steering Committee and representatives from 13 localities and tourism businesses in the region.

Participants at the seminar agreed that human resources for the region’s tourism sector remain weak in both quality and quantity. The 23,500 people employed by the sector have yet to meet the requirements of serving Mekong Delta’s 20 million visitors every year.

According to the Institute for Tourism Development Research under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the region will need 208,000 competent tourism workers by 2020.

Many attendees emphasised the need to enhance on-the-spot training, while encouraging the engagement of local residents in the tourism sector.

Besides, it is crucial to strengthen links between businesses and tourism training centres to rapidly overcome the shortfall in qualified personnel, they said.

Lying between Tien and Hau Rivers, the 18 million-strong Mekong Delta sees abundant potential for tourism development.

It is defined in the Vietnam’s master plan on tourism development by 2020 as one of seven tourism regions in the country, in connection with Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) tourism.

In 2012, the region attracted more than 19.4 million visitors and earned about 4.3 trillion VND from tourism-related activities, an increase of 23.2 percent from the year before.

The famous travel website Lonely Planet listed the Mekong Delta as one of the best value destinations in the world last year.-VNA