The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) has launched the Mekong Tourism internship finder on its website to address labour challenges faced by the industry and to connect interns to workplace learning opportunities.
The internship finder is primarily aimed at young people who are studying tourism and who would benefit from workplace experience. However, available internships are also open to people with aptitude, who are not yet in education or training.
The project has four goals: facilitating hands-on experience, by working alongside existing professionals in travel and hospitality roles; imparting both technical and soft skills; ensuring that students are industry-ready upon graduation; and building connections between tourism businesses and students, including recent graduates.
The tourism sector, which contributes about 16 per cent of GDP to the whole Mekong subregion, according to ResearchGate, is grappling with skill shortages. This deficit is impacting the quality of services offered to tourists and the overall sustainability of the industry, said the MTCO.
The Mekong Tourism internship finder programme will be a step towards resolving that issue, according to MTCO.
“The MTCO invites tourism industry players in the Mekong region who are recruiting, or plan to recruit, to advertise internships on our website at no cost,” said Suvimol Thanasarakij, executive director of MTCO.
“We want the next generation of tourism professionals to be well-equipped, not just in theory, but in practice. We want to elevate industry standards. First-hand on-the-job experience is vital to that process,” she added.
The Mekong Tourism internship finder will feature tourism internship opportunities in Cambodia, China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We are confident that the internship initiative will enhance human capital development in the region and be instrumental in elevating the quality of services and experiences that the Mekong region offers to tourists,” Suvimol said.