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The reluctance of tour operators to invest employee training

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According to the National Institute of Development Administration, managers would like the taxpayers to foot the bill for their professional development opportunities. It is possible to say that tourism is the single most important factor driving Thailand’s economy. Employers who are in a financial position are able to claim that they want to increase their employees by approximately 10 percent. According to Piriya Pholphirul, who works in the institute’s center of development economics research, “Tourism started picking up steam after the rules for Covid-19 were loosened in the second half of the year.” Even now, much over half of all tour companies have a smaller workforce than they did before the pandemic. Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that seven percent of business owners want to lay off employees as a direct result of their declining profitability and the increased pressure from staff members for fair pay. More than half of them have no intention of making any new hires, and a third of them are searching for ways to squeeze more work out of the employees they already have without having to pay them anymore. There is a growing movement toward replacing several workers with fewer abilities with a single employee who possesses a “multiple skill set. Piriya noted that secondary regions are reporting a higher demand for employees than important destinations, with the exception of Bangkok, which still had the largest demand. The vast majority of operators do not have any plans to alter their employment, and the phenomenon known as the “great resignation,” in which individuals quit their tedious occupations to pursue work that they find more fulfilling, has not yet had a significant impact on the tourism industry. Piriya, who was speaking at the monthly meeting of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) on Thursday, pointed out that the need for job security on the part of employees stands in stark contrast to the desire of employers. By contracting out as much of their operations as they can, bosses hope to avoid taking any responsibility for their employees.

About one-fourth of those employed in the tourism industry have some kind of plan to leave their positions over the next two years, with the primary motivating factors being low income and a lack of job stability. A significant number of tour operators have lost experienced staff, and the number of younger workers is still insufficient to meet demand. In particular, there is a lack of tour guides who are fluent in languages such as Russian or French, whereas the market is saturated with those who speak Chinese and English.

The American Travel Agents Association (ATTA) has proposed that the government establish a skills development fund with investments from the private sector and pay the costs of staff training for tour operators that are unwilling to pay for it themselves. For instance, the government might subsidize the cost of training for employees who wish to improve their linguistic abilities, so ensuring that business owners will see an increase in their earnings. A quarter of all tourist enterprises have expressed an interest in expanding their workforces, but tour operators are hesitant to fund employee training out of concern for the unpredictability of customer demand.

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