Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office Present with a Workshop at ITB Berlin

For the first time, ITB Berlin will welcome a “mini” Mekong Tourism Forum which will take place on March 8, from 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm.

Themed “Prosper with People” and moderated by Peter Semone of consulting firm Destination Human Capital, the session will explore how the tourism industry in our Mekong region is tackling the challenges – and achieving success – in the crucial area of human resource/capital development. Participating organisations will include GIZ, UN ITC, Dream Hotel Group, Myanmar Tourism Federation, Namkat Yola Pa Resort Laos, Tiger Trails, and Bangkok Airways. The NTOs of Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Myanmar will also offer insights into how HCD/HRD is driving investment and tourism spend.

MTF@ITB Berlin 2017 will take place on Wednesday, March 8, 15:30-16:45 in Room Regensburg (Hall 4.1), immediately after a Mekong Tourism Networking Reception sponsored by GIZ at 14:30 in Raum Weimar 3 (Meeting Bridge B / between Hall 4 and Hall 7). Everyone attending ITB Berlin is welcome to attend both events. The MTCO team and his Executive Director Jens Thraenhart are particularly keen to meet with those based outside the Mekong region who also view HCD as a challenge and are keen to share their experiences.

“In the Mekong Tourism region we absolutely want all of those multiple-bottom-line outcomes,” Mr Thraenhart said. “But they are so much tougher to work towards when the industry’s demand for qualified and committed people far exceeds supply.”
Furthermore the tourism industry today requires a different kind of employee; someone with a “much broader creative mind-set”, according to Peter Semone, Managing Partner of consulting firm Destination Human Capital.

“Today, tourism is a multifaceted, technology-driven, competitive global industry,” Mr Semone explained. “As trends in tourism continue to move away from the mass to the more customised, employers are beginning to see the role of human resources in a very different light. Soft skills, problem solving, and technological competencies are becoming desirable attributes across all operational and managerial levels.”

When travel & tourism organisations find it difficult to employ experienced, qualified, or appropriately trained people, service quality can suffer, according to both Peter Semone and Jens Thraenhart.

Both Mekong specialitsts assert that there is a strong correlation between higher levels of service quality and improved industry indicators, such as expenditure per trip and revenue per available room (RevPAR).

“The HR challenges in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are no different than in other regions,” Mr Thraenhart said. “However, in dynamic fast-growing destinations, such as Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, it is especially difficult to recruit sufficiently qualified and committed talent.”