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Tourism vocational schools set to open in capital, Sihanoukville

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A guide leads a group of tourists past the Royal Palace on November 16. Heng Chivoan

Tourism vocational schools set to open in capital, Sihanoukville

The vocational schools for tourism in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province for the development and promotion of tourism will open on November 24, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said on November 20 that the establishment of vocational schools for tourism in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province represents a good opportunity for the whole of Cambodia for this sector.

She added that Cambodia is focusing on infrastructure construction as well as tourism development and the restoration of tourism after the Covid-19 crisis.

She indicated that tourism is facing a shortage of human resources because the pandemic had closed down so many businesses owned by or employing professionals in the sector and some of them left their careers in tourism for other industries.

She continued that in addition, after the reopening of tourism it was found that only 50 per cent of the professionals in the sector had come back while the other 50 per cent had given up and left for work in other sectors.

“So, the establishment of this vocational school for tourism will help with the development and restoration of tourism, because we have fully reopened the country and we are gradually receiving international tourists again now,” she said.

Sivlin said that the number of tourists had increased significantly with more bookings as well as future inquiries about pricing and availability.

“So, starting next year, we will begin to receive visitors in increasing numbers we expect. If there is an increase in tourists, we will also need an increase in tourism human resources, but if we do not have a place or a standard vocational school for human resources training, we will not have sufficient numbers of staff receiving timely and specific training,” she said.

She stated that so far, Cambodia only has a few training schools and they belonged to the private sector or NGOs. So there must be a standard national vocational school established in Phnom Penh, which is the nation’s main human resource distribution centre.

She said that for Preah Sihanouk province such an institution is even more necessary because it is one of the most important tourist destinations and one of the most important economic poles to attract tourists to visit.

The French Development Agency (AFD) has provided €1.5 million in grants to strengthen the Tourism Commercial Capacity Building Programme (TCBP) and €11 million (about $12 million) in loans for two vocational school construction projects in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province.

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