VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Luxembourg and Swiss governments will provide funding worth 15 million euros, or over 133 billion kip, for skills development in the tourism and hospitality sector.
A launch ceremony for the Skills for Tourism project was held in Vientiane on Tuesday, presided over by Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Associate Prof. Kongsy Sengmany; Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Luxembourg in the Lao PDR, Claude Jentgen and Mekong Regional Director, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Tim Enderlin.
The objective of this five-year project is to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in the tourism and hospitality sector, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.
Through the implementation of a range of initiatives, it is expected that graduates, particularly disadvantaged people, will have improved skills in the tourism and hospitality sector and will be able to seek employment.
The project, which is being implemented by the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency, builds on a previous successful Luxembourg Development Cooperation-funded project titled ‘Strengthening of Human Resources in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry in the Lao PDR,’ which was implemented over the past seven years.
It was that project, which led to the creation and operationalisation of the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality.
Speaking at the ceremony, Kongsy said: “The Skills for Tourism project aligns very well with the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the Ministry of Education and Sports’ Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Development Plan 2016-2020.”
The vision of TVET is labour force development linked to national and provincial socio-economic development in key sectors, including tourism, as well as Asean and international integration.
The Skills for Tourism project will provide ongoing support for vocational education and skills development for the tourism sector. Once fully operational, it will allow for as many as 1,000 to 2,000 beneficiaries per year to be trained and seek employment in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The inception phase of the project began in September 2016. It is focused on achieving several key goals related to improving the quality in addition to expanding the scale and variety of good-quality skill development programmes in the tourism and hospitality sector.
This includes placing more disadvantaged groups in training programmes through transparent and effective support measures and supporting and enabling governance, institutional and regulatory frameworks.
“The government of Luxembourg is delighted to continue its support for tourism and hospitality skills development in Laos,” said Jentgen.
“This project is further helping to bridge the gap between the large number of job-seekers in Laos, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the enormous employment potential of the tourism and hospitality sector,” added Jentgen.
He emphasised that the project will also provide additional support to the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality.
“With the Skills for Tourism project, SDC aims to ensure that tourism and hospitality skills development and employment opportunities are available to all sections of society in Laos, in particular the poor and vulnerable, such as the young people, women and the rural population,” said Enderlin.
The tourism sector in Laos has expanded rapidly, with international arrivals increasing from 14,400 in 1990 to over 4.6 million in 2015.