The Labor Ministry is concerned about tourism staff shortages

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As Thailand continues to welcome more international visitors, the Ministry of Labour raised worry over staff shortages in the tourist industry.

Boonchob Suttamanuswong, Permanent Secretary of Manpower, indicated that he recently met with the Thai Hotels Association (THA), the Tourism Council of Phuket, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), and other organizations to tackle labor shortages in the tourism industry.

THA said, according to Boonchob, that while five-star hotels had enough employees to greet visitors over the New Year holidays, three- and four-star hotels encountered labor shortages, affecting their service operations. These authorities voiced concern since labor shortages continue to be a major issue as immigrant arrivals increase in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the ATTA has raised worry over a paucity of tour guides as more international visitors come in the country. To relieve labor shortages, the group sought a law amendment that would enable foreigners to serve as tour guides.

To solve the issue in the long run, the permanent secretary announced that the Department of Skill Development will develop a program to upskill final-year students studying tourism and hospitality. The department will also collaborate with enterprises in the field to hire them when they graduate, providing businesses with trained workers in the tourist industry.

The ministry recently conducted a study on manpower shortages in the tourist industry and determined that out of 32,359 firms in 60 provinces, about 1,817 operators, totalling 9,763 persons, require labor for their operations. Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phangnga, and Surat Thani are the top five provinces with a shortage of tourist personnel. Receptionists, porters, waiters, cleaners and housemaids, cooks, kitchen personnel, cashiers, and accountants are all in demand.

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