More measures needed to increase adaptive capacity of tourism enterprises

Increasing the adaptive capacity of tourism enterprises, hit hard by the four waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, plays an important role in rejuvenating the tourism industry and adapting to the new situation.

Military medical staff join a one-day tour to Cu Chi District in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: NDO/Manh Hao)
Military medical staff join a one-day tour to Cu Chi District in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: NDO/Manh Hao)

Over the past two years, the tourism sector has shrunk continually due to COVID-19 with more than 90% of travel companies having shut down temporarily, leaving people directly and indirectly idle.

In order to mitigate the disruption to human resources, several tourism enterprises have actively held training sessions to update their employees with new knowledge and skills on tourism activities in the new normal situation.

For instance, the Hanoitourist Travel Company recently conducted online training for around 60 officials and employees regarding skills in product building and promotion, the criteria of safe tourism, and how to handle a suspected case of COVID-19 infection.

Six other travel companies in Hanoi have also launched free online training programmes for their staff and students studying tourism and hospitality on the steps needed to organise safe tours and to improve the adaptability of human resources in the sector.

However, experts stress that solving the shortages and improving the quality of tourism human resources not only requires single efforts from tourism businesses but also the involvement of ministries, sectors and local tourism associations.

General Director of Flamingo Redtours Nguyen Cong Hoan, forecast that as the hospitality sector is likely to recover slowly in this period, human resources will not be a pressing issue in the travel segment. However, it is will be more difficult in the restaurants and hotels segment, especially those trained to four- and five-star standards.

Therefore, he stressed the need for support policies on training programs and training fees to enhance human resources in the tourism industry.

In addition to the human resource problem, tourism businesses are also in need of practical policies and mechanisms to remove the difficulties caused by COVID-19. General Director Hoan applauded how the State has devised many policies which have received much appreciation from tourism businesses such as those on reducing electricity bills for accommodation establishments, extending deadlines for tax payments, and providing financial support for tour guides.

Another challenge facing tourism enterprises is that COVID-19 has created great losses, making them struggle to maintain spending on marketing strategies. Therefore, they call for financial support in tourism promotion activities.

They suggested the tourism support fund should be put into operation soon to assist promotion programmes in both the domestic and foreign markets. Although Vietnam has not yet opened its doors to international visitors, marketing and promotion campaigns are still needed to attract foreigners to Vietnam in the post-COVID-19 period.

Speaking at an online seminar themed ‘The Tourism sector safety adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic’, recently held in Hanoi by Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said that the ministry has worked with the relevant ministries and sectors to make proposals to the Government on a preferential credit package for businesses, including tourism enterprises.

The Ministry has also actively coordinated with the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs to take measures to prevent any disruption to human resource training activities for travel firms, he added.