The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is joining hands with the Ministry of Education in working out vocational courses in hotel and tourism industries in order to produce personnel for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Mr. Auggaphol Brickshawana, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism and Sports, said that the hotel and tourism fields of study would be developed in accordance with ASEAN standards. They will be included in the curriculums of 102 vocational colleges across Thailand.
The cooperation program between the two ministries is aimed at developing skilled Thai personnel, who are now in great demand for positions in hotels and tourism-related businesses. It is also intended to prepare Thailand for the mobility of tourism professionals within the region, when AEC goes into effect in late 2015.
The courses in hotel and tourism industries focus on training personnel in four job titles involved with housekeeping, front office, food and beverages services and food production for the hotel division, and travel agencies and tour guides. These courses will be opened in the 2015 academic year.
Mr. Auggaphol pointed out that vocational courses will shorten the time needed to produce a capable workforce in hotel and tourism industries to satisfy the labor market. They will provide students with both theory and practical training. Graduates in these courses will be able to seek licenses to work in the ASEAN region.
A survey shows that the tourism sector is facing a severe shortage of personnel in the four job titles. About 180,000 members of the workforce in these job titles will be needed in 2015.
According to a recent discussion between the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Education, both sides agreed to work together to create manpower for the tourism industry. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports offered to propose law amendments to enable graduates at the higher-level certificate of vocational education to be engaged in the tour guide profession.
At present, the law requires that a tour guide trainee must first obtain a bachelor’s degree. The requirement is considered an obstacle to the tour guide profession. Thailand is still facing a shortage of guides in both quantity and quality, especially those who can communicate in foreign languages other than English, such as Chinese, Russian, German, Japanese, Korean, and ASEAN languages.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is also joining hands with Bangkok University in providing training for housekeeping personnel in preparation for the free flow of tourism professionals within the region.