Interview: Peter Semone, Chief Technical Advisor Lao National Institute Of Tourism And Hospitality

Peter Semone

“It Is All About Human Capital Development For Lao Tourism”

This coming July/August, the first batch of 60 students from the two-year LANITH (Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality) Diploma will graduate and be ready to go into Industry. Peter Semone, who has been behind the creation, development and growth of LANITH, tells to ASEAN.Travel what is coming next and how does LANITH contribute to Laos human capital development.

How is LANITH operating today?

Peter Semone- We made tremendous progress and all obstacles have been removed for our operational activities since December 2013, when the Ministry of Education endorsed LANITH as a national education institution integrating a college. It showed the Ministry willingness to take a new approach to tourism education in the country.

How did the Ministry’s endorsement changed LANITH’s development? 

P.S.- The Ministry recognition gave us the status of a quasi public institution which helps us in return to receive support from the government. This translated for example into the attribution of a piece of land belonging to the Ministry along the Mekong river to develop our training centre, school and the future hotel. And it gives us also capacities to implement our own financing management and collect money to sustain our activity or invest into facilities.

How far is the project about the hotel which has been debated for so long? 

P.S.- They are no difficulties anymore for the construction of a four-star hotel on the school ground as we have a lease for 40 years. We finally attributed a concession to private company Lao World PLC. They will put the money to build a 200-room hotel, which is valued at US$25 million. The college will also be built starting from September. We so far operate only a wing for our first training courses.

What will be the task of the full-fledged LANITH institution? 

P.S.- LANITH is finally setting a benchmark for educational training of local human resources in all fields of Lao society. We offer various forms of education diploma and certificate. We have the two-year LANITH Diploma which give to students the possibility to work in all sort of activities linked to the hospitality and tourism industry. We will now have our first 50 graduated students coming into the market. We also offer the LANITH Advanced Diploma, which is a three-year educational program and looks at provide a training for future teachers in tourism. We also help improving other technical schools by providing LANITH content. So far, 14 technical colleges are LANITH endorsed.

What about your first program “Passport to Success”?

P.S.- Our first launched program “Passport to Success” has received tremendous support as it helped to upscale the existing workforce in Laos by providing training to ASEAN standards. The program lasts only 2 to 3 days and is accessible to anyone interested. So far there are 1,500 Passport holders and more than 3,000 statements of attainment have been awarded, i.e. over 3,000 modules have been passed with success. It has been a great source of inspiration and motivation to many.

Are they some other fields of expertise where LANITH offers support? 

P.S.- We will do in August in cooperation with the German International Development Agency GIZ a new executive training program to have supervisors for guest houses and provide the fundamentals to offer proper facilities to foreign visitors. It is a two week group project. We also have a new “‘Carrier foundation’ program. It is aa one-hour module to improve skills of rural people or people with little business. it is a very important program to us as it will help developing entrepreneurship capacities of local people at village or community level. This is one of our best contributions to a sustainable tourism development. I believe that Asian people have all the skills of entrepreneurship. It just need to be a bit nurtured.