In anticipation of this year’s high season, industry associations and officials at the Ministry of Tourism are emphasising training programmes to hone skills that may have gotten rusty during the pandemic slowdown and learn new skills to better deal with the return to business in the “new normal”.

The ministry urged providers of tourist services to learn or brush up on their housekeeping skills so as to better please tourists when they arrive again, saying those who can attend the training course include employees working in the tourism sector such as reception and other staff who are not necessarily housekeepers.

Tourism businesses and all members of the Cambodia Tourism Federation (CTF), the Tourism Industry Association (TIA), youths looking for jobs, students and other members of the public can also enrol in the course, it said.

Chuob Ratana, director of the Tourism Development Planning Department, said the training course on housekeeping skills was being run to improve tourism services and stimulate human resource development. He said this is in response to the anticipated increase in the number of tourists and possible expectations about the quality of services provided as the industry becomes more competitive globally.

He said the course was being run by the ministry’s Tourism Professional Training Department, with each course lasting for five days and free of charge.

The ministry will offer the free housekeeping training this year with the first course set to take place on January 16-20. The second course will run January 23-27 and the rest scheduled for February 6-10, February 13-17, February 20-24 and February 27 to March 3.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said the training of job skills in the sector was a helpful response to the post-pandemic tourism markets. She said, however, that she would especially like to see more emphasis placed on the strengthening and development of trainees in advanced or digital technology.

She said Cambodia is now in the modern technological and digital era and it requires people to acquire skills and continue to keep up with advances in technology because the world will continue to takes steps forward and Cambodia’s tourism sector must stay current with technology in order to attract tourists.

“At present, everything increasingly depends on technology to advertise, sell and book various services. The technology is helpful and fast, and helps draw tourists to new locations around the world. People will decide to come to Cambodia because we embrace technology as others do,” she said.

Workers or employers interested in the training courses should contact the ministry directly. The trainees who successfully complete the courses will be presented with certificates and offered opportunities to practise the skills in various job placements around the country.