The Ministry of Tourism on Friday announced plans to work with Switzerland-based Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) to establish an online platform with courses in tourism.
In a statement issued last week, the ministry said that the courses in the platform will be in line with Wintec’s quality standards, adding that, as part of the same collaboration, an exchange programme will be created.
The Swiss institute is also planning to establish an office in Cambodia in the near future, the statement says.
“We will push for this collaboration so that we can make it happen as soon as possible,” said Tourism Minister Thong Khon. “We will request the government to sign a memorandum of understanding for this collaboration as soon as possible.”
The minister added that the collaboration would be a significant contribution to the development of the country’s human resources in the tourism sector and that it will help meet demand for professionals in the industry.
Cambodia is experiencing a surge in the number of foreign tourists, but a perceived shortage of skilled labour in the industry is seen as a significant hurdle to the development of the sector.
Chuk Chumno, director of the department of tourism product development, told Khmer Times recently that the ministry has conducted a slew of training courses in F&B and hospitality, but that the number of professionals, such as chefs, is still insufficient to meet soaring demand for services in the industry.
Long Bunhor, president of the Cambodia Chiefs Association, echoed a similar sentiment, acknowledging that the industry suffers from a shortage of professionals, and that this must be addressed urgently in order to meet the needs of the rising number of tourists visiting the country.
He said the government must cooperate with the private sector to establish vocational schools. “This will help to solve the shortage of labour in the industry,” he said.
There are 62,000 people employed in the tourism sector in Cambodia, according to the latest figures from the ministry. By 2020, the workforce is expected to reach 1 million.