PHUKET (Bloomberg): Phuket and Chiang Mai, among Thailand’s most-popular tourist destinations, are battling a shortage of workers in the hospitality sector as the country braces for a rush of Chinese travellers.
The tourism-related sectors in Phuket are in immediate need of about 3,600 more workers, Boonchob Suttamanaswong, permanent-secretary of the Ministry of Labor, said in a statement Wednesday (Jan 18). While Chiang Mai is short of about 850 workers, Chonburi, a seaside province located 90km (56 miles) east of Bangkok, needs almost 600 more workers, according to a survey by the ministry.
The labour shortage may hurt Thailand’s plan to draw 25 million tourists to the country this year, a target seen as key to sustaining an economic recovery. The labour ministry is devising short-term measures to address the labor crunch by supporting students to work part-time in the hospitality and services industry, Boonchob said.
Training of students in hospitality and foreign languages are long-term measures aimed at addressing the labor shortage, he said.
South-East Asia’s second-largest economy welcome about 11.5 million foreign visitors last year, compared with 40 million before the pandemic in 2019. Chinese are expected to make up 25% of the total visitors this year with arrivals expected to gather momentum from the second quarter, according to government and industry officials.