HUMAN capital is one of the strongest assets of the Asian tourism industry but it must be effectively developed to meet its full potential, according to PATA CEO Martin Craigs.
Speaking during the PATA informal roundtable press briefing at its Bangkok headquarters yesterday, Craigs said: “Asia is very good at building hardware – airports, hotels – but at the moment it’s not keeping up with the demand for staff. There is a high turnover rate among Asian hotels, as people keep getting poached and move.”
Citing the Philippines as an example, he remarked that up to 90 per cent of the country’s 26,000 graduates go overseas for work each year while the hotel boom in China, especially in Shanghai, leads to perennial staff shortage.
He added: “(For Asia), the challenges are keeping up with the growth and keeping the infrastructure aligned with the demand. The problem is more about satisfying the demand and getting enough of the right people to provide the service.”
Underscoring the association’s commitment to human capital development is PATA Academy, a new initiative that will be rolled out in end-February next year.
Said Craigs: “PATA Academy is a series of high-intensity, vocationally focused courses at the PATA headquarters. These one-week courses will be targeted at seasoned, high-rising professionals across the travel chain who like to get a broader picture of what else is going on across parts of the travel business.”
Likening it to an “applied masters in visitors’ economy”, he added that the programme would comprise seminars, site visits and meetings with leading practitioners in the travel industry.
To be conducted every quarter, PATA Academy will welcome about 36 participants per session, with fees priced at US$200 per day for PATA members and twice the amount for non-members.
At the media briefing, Craigs also revealed that the 2013 PATA Annual Conference would be held in Bangkok. Thailand last hosted the event in 2006.