Skilled labour shortage threatens tourism: TCC

Skilled labour shortage threatens tourism: TCC

Koh Phi Phi in Krabi province is a popular destination for tourists, especially the Chinese. (Post Today photo)
Koh Phi Phi in Krabi province is a popular destination for tourists, especially the Chinese. (Post Today photo)

As tourism continues to grow, Thailand is facing a growing problem: a shortage of skilled labour in the hospitality industry.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday called for the issue to be quickly addressed as the workforce in the cash-generating sector cannot keep pace with growth.

"Thailand has strong potential in the tourism sector but is encountering a shortage of labour with the skills for this profession,'' said Chanin Donavanik, chairman of the committee on tourism and services.

Statistics compiled by the chamber show the number of tourists and employees serving them running in opposite directions. The country welcomed 16 million visitors in 2010 when 6.5 million people worked in the sector. But the number of workers dropped to 6.2 million in 2013 while tourist arrivals jumped to 26.5 million.

The lack of workers groomed for the hospitality sector could affect the industry in the future as service levels could drop, the chamber said.

The tourism sector generated 1.4 trillion baht in revenue for the country last year, accounting for about 10% of gross domestic product.

Amid sluggish exports and consumption, the government is banking on tourism and state investment in megaprojects to spur the economy.

The chamber urged the government and private sector to draw up a master plan to solve all problems related to tourism. Other issues identified by the TCC include expansion of regional airports to serve foreign tourists and addition of more destinations for them instead of promoting only major attractions.

About 95% of tourists visiting Thailand entered the country through Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Phuket airports, according to the TCC.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is targeting 28 million tourists this year.

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