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Receptionist – “Smile” of Vietnam Tourism Sector

2010-10-06 (GMT + 7)

In order to raise the quality of Vietnam tourism, Vietnam has paid attention to train and develop human sources, including the training and improving professional skills for hotel receptionists. However, despite the attention, the investment has not yet met the current demand.

 Experience Playground for Vietnam Receptionists
People often say that guides and receptionists are “the soul” of tourism sector. It means that you will see bright and hospitable smile of guides when getting in a car and warm welcome of receptionists when getting off car and registering for hotel room. In a bid to honor the hotel receptionists and create a playground for the sector’s cadres in all three regions of north, central and south, a national contest named “Hotel Receptionists 2010” has been organized.
 The contest was aimed to celebrate the 50th foundation anniversary of Vietnam Travel (July 9, 1960-July 9, 2010), greet the Thang Long-Hanoi millennium and the national tourism year 2010. This is the second event of its kind following the first in 2000. The contest gathered the participation of candidates from tourism-related agencies and companies in almost all provinces and cities nationwide. The candidates were at least two years of experience and good at one foreign language. 
 The receptionist career in Vietnam is chosen by students as a part-time and seasonal job which is much more superior than others such as waiter or tutor because it requires a bright face, fresh smile, good communication skill and particularly ability of using foreign language. However, the career is considered temporary job and a first stepping-stone on the path to success rather than a long-term job for a living (exclusive some special cases). There is a fact that mostly 100 per cent of general directors of big hotels or restaurants or leasing buildings having ever experienced the role of receptionist. Based on the position, they have collected experiences of management, long-term views and ability of managing staff.     
 Need a Methodical Training Strategy
Do Thi Hong Xoan, chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Hotels, the number of hotels has increased from only 2,000 ones in 2000 to roughly 10,000 so far this year, in parallel with the rising quality of hotel services. Under the association’s assessment at almost all hotels, the quality of receptionist service has met the standard. Five-star hotels such as InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, Daewoo, Hilton Opera are ones of which receptionist services are ranked the top in Vietnam. However, the rate of five-star hotels is modest while the potential of  Vietnam tourism is left huge.
 Vietnam hopes five million of foreign tourists travel to Vietnam by the end of this year. Under the statistics of 2009, Vietnam had 3.5 million foreign tourists. Up 30 per cent on year. So far this year, the revenue of Vietnam travel has reached more than VND64 trillion.  In fact, the investment to raise the professional skills requires each hotel to have long-term training strategy right at the time when recruiting staff. Hotel and restaurant owners in Vietnam have identified foreign language as shortcoming in their manpower system. Thus, apart from recruiting personnel who are good at foreign language, many owners are willing to invite experts to help train their staff.
 Besides investments of hotels by themselves, the government has recently focused on investments for the Vietnam tourism sector, but not yet been resolute. Currently, almost all Vietnam’s schools teach students theory rather than practice. Awaking to the shortcoming, many universities specialized in tourism in Vietnam have join hands by themselves with companies and partners from Singapore, Australia and the US to send students for studying at famous hotels and restaurants in the foreign countries. They want after such training courses, Vietnamese students will get experiences and international certificates to possibly be confident to follow the career and develop more and more Vietnam travel.
     According to Hoang Thi Diep, vice head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the country needs to continue improving the professional quality for staff, expand further centers and training courses for receptionists as well as boost the cooperation among universities, colleges and intermediary schools.

(Source: VCCI)

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