The ministries of Tourism, and Labour and Vocational Training have been developing programmes for young men and women in tourism and hospitality skills in Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Preah Vihear provinces.

The programmes serve to develop professional skills and establish appropriate job opportunities in the tourism sector.

Tourism ministry spokesman Top Sopheak said the skills development programme is the second phase of tourism-related vocational training and follows a recently completed four-year programme that enrolled more than 2,000 young people from Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces.

He said the second step will provide vocational education to young and low-skilled people to access employment and increase income for their families.

“This project is in process and we are unsure how many participants will be involved in this training. But we have identified young people from the five target provinces. The project is meant to boost their skills as hoteliers, chefs and hospitality professionals,” Sopheak said.

He said the idea will also strengthen the skills of the ministry’s staff at the national and sub-national levels.

“It creates a capable human resources function for the tourism sector. The provinces are eco-tourism destinations and this contributes to the creation of core training resources and core evaluators with clear professional skills”, Sopheak said.

Cambodia Hotel Association (CHA) president Clais Chenda said on Tuesday that she supports the project to train young men and women in tourism and hospitality because it helps young people gain the skills and experience to find jobs.

Chenda said the tourism sector’s level of service is still limited. Most staff do not have the personal and professional skills to work in the roles they are performing.

“Service in the tourism sector is still limited in Khmer, foreign languages and other technical skills. I think the ministry should consider more short courses or training to help them be able to do the job responsibly,” Chenda said.