Vietnam’s tourism sector has decided to prioritise human resources development in an effort to diversify the industry, the Vietnam Economic News reported.

High-quality human resources are considered one of the most important resources for tourism development. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the tourism sector needs an additional 40,000 workers every year, but currently produces just 15,000 tourism graduates annually. The sector employed around 500,000 direct workers and one million indirect workers last year, and expects to record 650,000 direct jobs and two million indirect jobs this year.

According to the national tourism development strategy for the 2011-2020, the tourism sector will need 2.2 million workers this year and around tree million by 2020. Most tourism colleges are found in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hue, and only a few of them can be found in other localities with tourism potential. Local tourism training quality is low due to a lack of necessary training facilities. Tourism training needs to be improved in both quality and quantity.

At the Vietnam Business Forum 2014, investors agreed that the tourism and hospitability sector in Vietnam is facing a shortage of trained labour, which hinders the sector’s sustainable development.

Foreign investors also suggested that the tourism and hospitability sector should improve its image and trust by promoting training, as a result of it, well-trained tourism workers would help providing better services and generating more revenue for the sector.

In addition, qualified tourism workers should be sent to work for other travel companies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region to enhance their practice, expertise, knowledge, skills and professional values. Moreover, foreign tour operators should be allowed to participate in the local travel market while streamlining the procedure for grant of the travel business licence.

Vietnam welcomed 7.87 million foreign tourists and 38.5 domestic tourists in 2014. The country has set the 2015 goal of welcoming approximately 8.5 million foreign arrivals and 41 million domestic tourists, raking in over 12 billion USD.-VNA