Cambodia is calling for the establishment of tourism institutes and universities to provide relevant skills in compliance with an Asean curriculum, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said.
He was speaking during the Sub-Forum on Yunnan-South Asia & Southeast Asia Tourism Vocational Education and Personnel Training Exchange and Cooperation in China’s southwestern city of Kunming in Yunnan province on Tuesday.
He presented the Kingdom’s plan to develop tourism skills by establishing a National Tourism Institute, a Tourism University, a Tourism Vocational Training School and other vocational training programmes, using Asean curriculums on-site.
The forum saw attendees from the private sector, tour operators, professors of tourism schools, education and training institutions, and relevant partners from several countries in Asean and South Asia – such as Brunei, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, as well as the US.
Khon said Cambodia will train tourism professionals and that 50 per cent of tourism industry staff will be qualified according to Asean standards by next year.
Cambodia National Tourism Alliance secretary-general Hor Vandy said the initiative has been proposed for over 10 years since 2008 with the support from Australia, which requires all Asean member states to adopt a common Asean standard for tourism professionals.
“The Asean standard will allow them [tourism professionals] to work in other Asean member states,” he said.
As of last year, only about 40 per cent of the 620,000 employed in the tourism industry were qualified in line with Asean standards, said the Ministry of Tourism.
The ministry has provided training in tourism and hospitality skills to some 5,743 tourist guides. Of these, 1,409 are Chinese speaking tour guides in response to the increasing number of Chinese tourists.
“[We] will continue to work hard to train Chinese speaking staff in the tourism industry and more Chinese speaking tour guides to respond to the growth of Chinese tourists. This requires cooperation from our Chinese friends,” he said.
Next year, Cambodia expects to welcome around seven million international tourists, of which three million are expected to be from China.