The Ministry of Tourism’s efforts to upskill and retrain tourism workers nationwide have been met with a fresh round of praise from industry insiders and observers, as the sector re-emerges from its Covid-19 hibernation.

The ministry has been running training courses across the provinces to ensure that hospitality and related services are up to the mark, following a more than two-year Covid-19-enforced hiatus that left a substantial proportion of workers either jobless or pivoting into other industries.

The ministry reported earlier this month that 69,595 people have undergone training since July 2020 under one such ambitious programme – the majority of them online.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)Cambodia Chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said: “I support the provision of skills training courses for the tourism sector … [amid the] downturn as the men and women who once supported the industry had to take on other jobs to make ends meet as Covid-19 devastated their families’ livelihoods.

“We need top-notch workers to provide services and man the recovering sector,” he says.

At a December 27 workshop in Kampot province centred on discussing ways to step up tourism services, ministry secretary of state Chea Se commented on Cambodia’s comparatively good safety conditions for travellers, underpinned by the government’s vaccination policies, even in light of the Kingdom’s early adoption of “Living with Covid”strategies in November 2021.

This adoption, he said, “has encouraged leisure travel to tourist attractions. With the recovery in the sector, the tourism ministry has been particularly attentive to improving the quality of tourism services and safety for travellers in the ‘New Normal’.

“We’ll also keep promoting tourism at home and abroad,” Se vowed.

Driving up the overall quality of tourism services requires a large pool of capable and professional workers that can ensure the satisfaction of travellers at the Kingdom’s tourist attractions, he suggested.

Se stressed that the ministry has “paid close attention to develop human resources in the tourism sector” towards meeting the quantitative and qualitative needs of holidaymakers.

“We’re helping those serving the tourism sector – youths, students and anyone else who is determined to develop their capacities and pursue tourist careers can work on both existing and new skills anytime, anywhere and be able to build lifelong skills.”