A passion for tourism

As an ambitious young intellectual, Mr. Minh Chu impresses people by his passion and enthusiasm whenever he talks about his tourism & hospitality projects. The Journal of Knowledge and Development had a conversation with him – a young intellectual, founder of Vietnam Hospitality Network, a non-profit organization working towards the sustainable development of Vietnam Tourism.

Reporter: Hello Chu Hong Minh, I know that you graduated with a degree in Finance and Banking, but now you are into tourism development projects. Why did you change?

Minh Chu: I love travelling, but I couldn’t travel a lot when I was a student. It’s not until I went to work did I have the opportunity to travel to many regions in our country. From these trips, with more knowledge, information, understanding accumulated, I came up with many interesting ideas of tourism. It was then like my destiny, because of the passion for tourism, I kept looking around and found my way to study in Switzerland, a country with a thriving tourism industry. I chose hospitality administration, and put all my heart into studying and researching. While studying in Switzerland, I travelled to almost 10 European countries. After finishing the course, I visited some more countries nearby before coming back and working for hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.  Then I left for Hanoi, participated intensively in managing development projects for resorts in some of the major tourist attractions of Vietnam. At this time, those trips abroad, along with the practical experience here helped me to discover opportunities and potentials of our tourism industry. I also felt the transformation of the industry in the first decade of the new century and I wished to be a part of the transformation, my desire became to contribute partly to the development of tourism industry.

Reporter: Just as you said that Vietnam tourism shows a significant transformation. What do you think about the opportunity of Vietnam Tourism?

Minh Chu: Asia Pacific is a dynamically developing region, Vietnam is included. Our country possesses magnificent beauty of nature, of the country, and the people.  Its potential to go ahead is undeniable. After 20 years of innovation, 10 years of implementation of the strategic development of tourism, during the period from 2001 to 2010, Vietnam tourism industry has made significant progress and expected to become one of 10 ideal destinations of the world in the next 10 years. “Vietnam is carrying out regional and international integration. Bilateral, multilateral relations established are more in quantity, broad and intensive in quality on economics, cultural, social, environmental and general issues towards the millennium goals.  That context strongly impacts the integration, international cooperation process in tourism. The industry is under the transformation of the decade that moves from developing based mainly on expanding the market, exploiting the available resources, to developing based on manpower, high-quality human resource. Vietnam’s receiving the project “Responsible Tourism” funded by EU, and the coming implementation of ASEAN mutual recognition arrangement on tourism professionals are opportunities, and at the same time, challenges for Vietnam tourism.

Reporter: As the founder of VHN, with the purpose of developing tourism industry sustainably, what is the focus of its program, after nearly six years operating?

Minh Chu: Vietnam Hospitality Network – www.hospitality.vn started in 2008 by a group of hotel management graduated students from Switzerland. With the valuable experience we gained when studying and working in developed countries of hospitality industry and our desire to contribute to the sustainable development of Vietnam’s tourism & hospitality industry, we all together established VHN. Our perspective is that for the development to be sustainable, the participants (manpower, schools, experts, recruiters and tourism administration organizations) have to connect closely with each other. And here we create a multidimensional interactive platform, where every member can maximize their benefits by building up professional relationships, improving operational skills and experience, developing career opportunities and business opportunities.

Reporter: I know that you are supported by the Institute for Tourism Development Research in developing high-quality human resource for the industry in the period of 2015-2020, can you share some information about this?

Minh Chu:Yes, we are working with the Institute for Tourism Development Research to develop high-quality human system for the period of 2015-2020. We are sponsored and supported greatly by the Institute in operating the project with three main objectives:

– Efficiently take advantage of the experts network, connect foreign experts to domestic ones (through interacting on http://hospitality.vn/experts– a social page)

– Create internship opportunities/career opportunities for industry personnel, sign agreements with corporates, business, administration agencies… to support and create opportunities for them.

-Organize activities to exchange and upgrade management skills as well as business cooperation opportunities such as: Swiss Alumni Nights, management forum for senior managers, seminars and workshops for HR managers, free training programs for 1,000 personnel on online marketing in hospitality …

Besides, we also know that with the development of Vietnam tourism in the new period, human resource currently can’t satisfy the needs in quantity and quality, we seriously lack the high-quality resource. However, the good news is that there are many hospitality management graduated students from developed countries, especially from Switzerland. Some of them didn’t have enough experience, some of them couldn’t handle the differences in working here from working in foreign countries, those facts limited them from developing their careers further. Therefore, our projects focus on Vietnamese students graduated from developed countries in general, and from Switzerland particularly (The Swiss Alumni Club) as the main resource, to assist them, equip them with substantial knowledge and skills to take management positions within 3-5 years after coming back.

With these objectives, we hope that the program will practically meet the industry requirements, and can contribute greatly to the development of the industry.

Reporter: Thank you, Minh for the conversation today and we wish you success in the future!

Source: Knowledge & Development

Translator: Thuy Duong

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