Novotel Saigon. Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Human resources development will help improve the competiveness of lodging providers in Vietnam amid the rapid expansion of the country’s tourism industry, according to hospitality experts.

Last year, the average occupancy rate of hotels and resorts was at nearly 60 percent and total tourism revenue hit 150 trillion VND (6.6 billion USD), said Do Hong Xoan, chairwoman of the Vietnam Hotel Association at a conference on hospitality investment held in HCM City on May 9.

Also in 2017, 25,600 lodging facilities ran 508,000 rooms nationwide. The figures represented annual increases of 22 and 21 percent, respectively.

Investments and better management of tourism accommodation by big corporations, like Vingroup, Sungroup and FLC resulted in good quality services, Xoan noted.

However, experts said overall, domestic hotels have low competitiveness and are often overloaded during peak seasons. Many of them pay too much attention to price competiveness but lack skilled human resources.

Do Thi Thanh Hoa, deputy director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research, said despite its substantial growth, the number of people working in the lodging sector, which accounts for half of the tourism workforce, falls short of demand and just a small portion have official training in tourism.

The accommodation workforce also lacks middle and senior managers, Hoa added.

A representative from the Quang Ninh Tourism Department informed the conference that the province has about 18,000 tourism labourers, of whom 49 percent lack official training.

Some 75 percent of local hotel directors and managers have never been educated in tourism at university, he said.

Experts at the conference said training of qualified workforce in response to specific needs of different types of accommodation facilities is necessary for tourism development. Completing occupational standards in line with regional and international ones is also important, they stressed.

Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels Asia Pacific, recommended Vietnamese lodging establishments pay attention to improving their infrastructure and service quality and the application of new technologies in management and customer services.

His suggestion also covered price policies and environmental protection for a sustainable tourism industry.-VNA