To minimise the acute manpower shortage in the travel and hospitality industry, Malaysia Tourism Council (MTC) has devised a plan to share with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, in the hope that the ministry will take it up with the relevant government agencies.
MTC president, Uzaidi Udanis, shared with TTG Asia that the council had a meeting with travel and tourism players two weeks ago and several strategies were devised for short- and mid-term solutions to cover the transport, hospitality, F&B and retail industry.
Short-term solutions included attracting foreign interns to gain industry exposure in Malaysia and encouraging students to pursue tourism and hospitality courses upon completing their secondary education. He pointed out that hospitality and tourism institutions in Malaysia were having difficulties with recruitment.
On the manpower shortage, Zahira Tahir, founder and CEO, Universal Holidays, also shared that the problem was acute in the hospitality industry across all hotels – regardless of star ratings – throughout the country.
Due to the labour crunch, many had not been operating at full capacity, she said. Currently, it is the peak season for tourists from India and Middle East markets, domestic demand is high and many Singaporeans visit on the weekends too.
Universal Holidays had to rearrange itineraries according to room availability. She explained: “When we can’t get rooms in Genting, we do Genting as a day trip. When there are no rooms in Kuala Lumpur, we develop the itinerary with another destination first.”
Zahira also highlighted on the shortage of private vehicles to ferry tourists around as suppliers were short of drivers while some had reduced their inventory.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Hotels had reached out to the Human Resources Ministry to expedite the work permits of foreign workers, but had not received a response, reported The Star recently.