Tourism Got Talent?

The most valuable resources in tourism is human, according to Jens Thraenhart (Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office)

MEKONG TOURISM FORUM: HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

Category: ITB Marketing and Destination Workshops Day 1

Date: March 8, 2017 Time: 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm

Location: Convention Hall 4.1, Room Regensburg

Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Jens Thraenhart (Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office) explains why qualified and committed employees are a top priority for a tourism-based economy:

Human Capital Development (HCD) is macro. It’s about improving the whole system of human interaction in the tourism experience. We believe that HCD should be a strategic pillar that drives investment, higher spend, as well as inclusive growth. Being able to have talent available that can deliver on consumer expectations increases companies’ willingness to invest, and allows for new experiences to be developed. That will in return increase infrastructure and connectivity, which increase demand, and then supply.

What are the key challenges when it comes to finding talent in high growth tourism areas like Mekong?

The lack of par tnership and engagement between stakeholders is perhaps the single most important challenge in HCD, and it is rarely substantively included in policy and strategy frameworks. Education and industry training for new entrants to the workforce is of a poor quality, even as the existing workforce requires training. In addition, the hospitality and tourism industry is still perceived as low paying.

How damaging is it for individual hotels not to be able to find qualified staff?

The private sector continues to grapple with a mismatch between skills taught and skills required, including soft skills. Training providers, in general, are not doing enough to align their programs with reality.

What are the solutions?

These issues can be addressed at a national level. Governments must initiate HCD-oriented policies with agreed action plans. There is also need for research demonstrating clear evidence of tourism’s significant contribut ion to employment , economic growth and its multiplier effect, to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Ultimately, PR and communication is essential to build awareness of the career and entrepreneurial opportunities tourism offers. Of course, to improve public perceptions, work conditions could be improved and career paths better defined