- LuxDev's Regional office
- Vientiane Regional Office
- Education, vocationnal training and employment
- PIC 3
- 2011 - 2015
- Implementation period
- 22 August 2016 - 31 December 2022
- Total duration
- 76 months
- Total budget
- 15,706,000 EUR
- Contribution breakdown
- Luxembourg Government
LAOS - From the remotes of Luang Prabang province to employment at a luxury resort – the story of Athor
Follow the journey of Athor, who enrolled in a short-term hospitality training course offered by the Lanith Training Center in Luang Prabang (through support by the Skills for Tourism Project – LAO/029), who went on to become employed by the 5-starred Amantaka Resort, allowing him to provide for his family.
LAOS - The journey of Oudone Thangsombath, Teacher at Champasak Technical College
Oudone used to lack pedagogical skills but then decided to join the ASEAN National Trainers and Assessors Programme supported by Skills and Tourism Project (LAO/029) to develop her teaching skills. ‘’Now I have more hands-on and practical experiences. I am confident to pass on this knowledge and these skills to my students”.
LAOS - LaoSafe, a health and hygiene programme for the Lao Tourism and Hospitality Sector
Find out more about LaoSafe, which comprises a series of health and hygiene standards for different subsectors of the tourism and hospitality industry, and which plays a key role in the eventual reopening of the Lao tourism economy to international tourists.
LAOS - Supporting female tourism and hospitality leaders of tomorrow
In view of the disproportionately low number of Lao women in managerial positions in the tourism and hospitality sector, the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) provided support to train 15 women over the course of 6 weeks, to teach them the necessary skills to be promoted to supervisory roles in their workplaces.
LAOS - Building English and online teaching skills
In the summer of 2021, a group of more than 30 tourism and hospitality teachers from vocational schools and colleges across Lao PDR came to Vientiane Capital for four weeks to improve their English language skills as well as their knowledge about online training tools.
LAOS - The Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT) and the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) – Five years of fruitful collaboration
Find out about the Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT), a long-standing partner of the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029). It’s been a partnership which has resulted in the training of 2,000+ beneficiaries in a variety of topics related to Tourism and Hospitality, as well as the translation of 120 ASEAN Common Competency Standards and the training of teachers on how to adhere to these regional standards of excellence through their teaching.
LAOS - ‘’Shaken, not stirred’’ – Enhancing the skills of Laos’ professional bartenders
From 2020-2022, the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) has been supporting the upskilling of Lao bartenders. Through a weeklong workshop, participants are introduced to practical bartending techniques, beer, wine and spirits knowledge, ingredient preparation, cocktail methods and mixology, all while making - and tasting - a host of classic and international cocktails.
LAOS - LaoSafe launches promotional video
Follow a tourist couple as they journey through some of the varied attractions Laos has to offer, all the while travelling with the certainty that the places they visit with their certified tour guides are all upholding 'LaoSafe' hygiene standards.
LAOS - Tourism and hospitality businesses safely gearing up for tourists
Rencontrez quelques-une des principales entreprises du secteur du tourisme et de l'hôtellerie au Laos et découvrez comment elles veillent à ce que leur clientèle puisse savourer leur séjour "LaoSafe" en leur compagnie.
LAOS - Discover the Acadamy Training Hotel and Restaurant
The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant, in Vientiane Province, was founded to boost the vocational skills of students studying tourism and hospitality and to prepare them to a future career in this sector by real-life learning experience.
Technical and Guidance Notes
LAOS - GUIDELINES FOR MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN ICP V
LAOS - GUIDELINES FOR MAINSTREAMING HUMAN AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN ICP V
LAOS - GUIDELINES FOR MAINSTREAMING ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN ICP V
LAOS - GUIDELINES FOR MAINSTREAMING DIGITAL FOR DEVELOPMENT IN ICP V
LAOS - GUIDELINES FOR MAINSTREAMING CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT IN ICP V
2018 Labour Market Information Bulletin: Employers, Training Providers and Policy Makers
2018 Labour Market Information Bulletin: Job Seekers
2019 Labour Market Information Bulletin: Employers, Training Providers and Policy Makers
2019 Labour Market Information Bulletin: Job Seekers
LAO/029 - Labour Market Bulletins | Information for Job Seekers
LAO/029 - Labour Market Bulletins | Information for Employers, Training Providers and Policy Makers
Tourism & Hospitality Survey of Employment and Skills in Lao PDR (ESS) - Final Report
Tourism and Enterprise Survey of Employment and Skills in Lao PDR: Technical Report
LAOS - Tourism and Hospitality Enterprise Survey of Employment and Skills in Lao PDR, 2021
LaoSafe standards - Food and beverage
LaoSafe standards - Accommodation
LaoSafe standards - Drivers
LaoSafe standards - Tour guides
LaoSafe standards - Tourist attractions
LAOS - Education enterprise engagement manual
LAOS - Good internship practice guide
The tourism sector in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) has expanded rapidly, with international arrivals increasing from 14,400 in 1990 (generating revenue of USD 2.25 million) to over 4.6 million in 2015 (with revenue of USD 725.4 million). Direct employment in tourism stands at approximately 130,000 people, with participation in the tourism labour force seen as the main potential to increase poor peoples’ share of tourism-related income. According to research carried out in 2015, there are currently approximately 7,000 job vacancies in the tourism and hospitality sector in Lao PDR. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 10% of the tourism and hospitality labour force has to be replaced annually for a variety of reasons. Accordingly, Luxembourg and Switzerland, together with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of the Lao PDR, have joined hands for a vocational education and skills development project.
‘Skills for Tourism’ promotes sustainable and inclusive growth of the tourism and hospitality sector in Lao PDR, thereby contributing to poverty reduction. The project is helping to bridge the gap between the large number of job-seekers in Lao PDR, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the enormous employment potential of the tourism and hospitality sector. It is expected that graduates of improved and expanded tourism and hospitality vocational education and skills development will find gainful employment or pursue further studies in the tourism and hospitality sector as a result of this initiative. The project builds on previous and ongoing support for vocational education and skills development in Lao PDR from both Luxembourg and Switzerland within the framework of the Lao PDR Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Development Plan 2016-2020 and the Lao PDR Tourism Strategy 2006-2020.
An average of 1,000 beneficiaries per year will be supported to participate in education and training initiatives that equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitude for employment, further studies or promotion in the sector. According to Mr Nouphanh Outsa, Director General-TVET Department, MoES, and Project LAO/029 National Project Director:
With increasing demands for skilled labour in the tourism and hospitality sector, I am delighted that the ‘Skills for Tourism’ project is supporting the Government of Lao PDR in its efforts to ensure that disadvantaged poor people can gain the skills needed to secure decent employment in the tourism sector.
The five-year project, which began in September 2016, focuses on four key outcomes:
- the quality of technical and vocational education and training and skills development programmes in tourism/hospitality is improved;
- the scale and variety of technical and vocational education and training and skills development programmes in tourism/hospitality is expanded and enhanced;
- people from disadvantaged backgrounds are included in tourism/hospitality technical and vocational education and training and skills development programmes;
- an enabling governance, institutional and regulatory framework for technical and vocational education and training and skills development, particularly in tourism/hospitality, is in place.
It is expected that, by 2021:
- 5,000 people have participated in tourism/hospitality vocational education and skills development programmes supported by 'Skills for Tourism';
- at least 75% of graduates are gainfully employed or pursuing further studies within three months of completing their training programme;
- at least 80% of those employed will be earning an income at or above the minimum wage;
- at least 65% of employers are satisfied with the knowledge and skills of graduates.
LAOS - Lao travel operators gear up to certify guides and drivers with LaoSafe
LaoSafe has witnessed an increase in requests for training and certification in anticipation of an uptick in tourist arrivals to Laos.
Laos reopened its borders to international tourists on 9 May 2022, dropping all testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers. Since then, interest in the country has grown, with an increase in visitors of over 50% by the end of June leading to a surge in demand for organised tours and renewed hope for the coming high season.
Coinciding with the end of the monsoon rains, Laos traditionally sees visitor numbers rise in October, and travel operators across the country are now racing to further certify tour guides and drivers to cope with the anticipated influx of tourists. To date, over 710 tour guides and 270 drivers have achieved LaoSafe certification.
“LaoSafe is a great standard to have and is very important during the new normal. The LaoSafe training that our guides have received has helped them prioritise safety and cleanliness. As a tour operator, I want travellers to know that Laos has safety standards in place for them to travel with peace of mind and confidence. I would like to invite everyone to visit Laos and for tour operators in Laos to apply for LaoSafe”, says Duangmala Phommavong, Managing Director at EXO Travel Laos.
Implemented by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, and approved by the Ministry of Health, LaoSafe is a nationwide initiative designed to create a world-class health and hygiene system within the tourism and hospitality industry.
Sector-specific standards have been developed for accommodation, food and beverage, tour guides, and drivers, to raise the benchmark of hygiene provision throughout the country and build international confidence in Laos as a safe tourist destination.
“As a Destination Management Company it is of utmost importance for us to be able to offer our customers a safe and quality experience. As COVID-19 has changed our world and our way of living, it was important for us to adapt as well and thanks to the LaoSafe initiative this has been possible”, says Julie Beaufrère, Product and Inbound Officer at Asian Trails Laos.
“Not only does this initiative allow us to reassure our customers who would be concerned about safety and hygiene measures in Laos, but it also allows us to access a harmonization of services and the creation of standards on a national scale that we will continue to support by training our guides and drivers through LaoSafe”, she commented.
While visitor numbers are not immediately expected to bounce back to 2019 levels, the removal of entry restrictions has given the tourism and hospitality industry a welcome boost after two years of tightly controlled borders. Yet, with COVID-19 numbers still fluctuating around the world, protecting against infection is still a concern for many.
The LaoSafe Programme is supported by the LAO/029 - Skills for Tourism Project, which is co-financed by the governments of Laos, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Laos and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
For further information, visit www.laosafe.gov.la.
For all media enquiries, additional comments, or requests for interviews, please contact email@example.com.
LAOS - Businesses Attain LaoSafe Certification
On Monday, 28th February, the LaoSafe programme organised its first Certificate Awarding Ceremony in the Vientiane Capital. In the presence of Mr. Ounthuang Khaophanh, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT), Mr. Nouphan Outsa, Director General of the Technical Vocational Education Department (TVED), Mr. Sam Schreiner, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Luxembourg and Mr. Christian Engler, the Swiss Development Cooperation’s (SDC) Deputy Country Director, 19 individuals received their credentials as LaoSafe Trainers and Assessors, in addition to 22 businesses receiving their LaoSafe certification.
Mr. Sam Schreiner, Charge d'Affaires of the Luxembourg Embassy participated in the ceremony and handed over LaoSafe certificates to LaoSafe Tour Guide and Driver trainers. © Matthew Dakin
LaoSafe is a health and hygiene programme approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the MICT and comprises a series of health and hygiene standards for different subsectors of the tourism and hospitality industry, including for accommodation providers, food and beverage (F&B) outlets, airlines, tour guides and drivers. The goal of LaoSafe is to both improve the quality of health and hygiene practices, while building confidence in Lao PDR as a safe tourist destination.
Speaking at the event, the Vice Minister of the MICT made note of the progress that has already been achieved by the LaoSafe programme, which officially commenced its piloting in Vientiane Capital a month ago. "Following a series of intensive preparation sessions, we have now reached one of the programme’s first milestones, which is the certification of Trainers and Assessors for the subsectors of food and beverage, tour guides and drivers", he explained. Trainers and Assessors for the accommodation sector are currently undergoing preparation.
Mr. Ounthuang Khaophanh, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) underlined the progress that has so far been achieved by the programme and congratulated everyone for clearing its first major milestones. © Matthew Dakin
These LaoSafe Trainers are officially certified to train food and beverage outlets as well as tour guides and drivers in preparation for their LaoSafe assessment, and a team of assessors have been equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform onsite inspections. During their preparation, the trainers and assessors were given the opportunity to directly practice their skills by coaching and assessing numerous businesses which had expressed interest in becoming LaoSafe certified.
"The training provided by the LaoSafe Trainers was not just crucial to refresh and expand our staff’s understanding of relevant hygiene procedures against COVID, but it also gave us the confidence that we would pass the strict assessment to become LaoSafe certified", said Ms. Dalaphone Pholsena, Managing Director of Kualao Restaurant.
As remarked by Mme Darany Phommavongsa, Director General of the Tourism Management Department of the MICT, "it’s been extremely encouraging to witness the interest of tourism and hospitality businesses and professionals in the LaoSafe certification. Consequently, a lot of trainings and assessments are underway in Vientiane Capital and in Luang Prabang".
Indeed, numerous businesses, ranging from the national airlines – which also received their certification during the event – to accommodation businesses like the Crowne Plaza Hotel understand the need to make their domestic and international clients feel cared for.
During the awards ceremony, 19 individuals received their credentials as LaoSafe Trainers and Assessors, in addition to 22 businesses receiving their LaoSafe certification. © Matthew Dakin
"We owe it to our guests to make them feel absolutely safe on our premises. Once the borders have fully reopened, we want to be able to show to potential clients that we have done everything in our power to ensure that all operations are run with strict dedication to high-quality hygiene standards", said Mr. Nattawut Wetprasit, Director of Operations of the Crowne Plaza Hotel emphasised.
More tour guides, drivers and businesses are set to be trained and assessed in the coming months in different locations of the country. Additional awarding ceremonies are also planned to take place in Vientiane Capital and Luang Prabang in the coming weeks.
The LaoSafe programme is supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), which is co-financed by the governments of the Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
More information on LaoSafe can be obtained under: www.tourismlaos.orgor via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAOS - 2021 Tourism and Hospitality Employment and Skills Survey research findings published
On Tuesday November 30th the Ministry of Education and Sports, represented by Mr Nouphan Outsa, Director General of the Technical Vocational Education and Training Department, disseminated the findings of its recently published Tourism and Hospitality Enterprise Survey of Employment and Skills in Lao PDR. The online meeting was co-chaired by Mme Darany Phommavongsa, Director General of the Tourism Management Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, and attended by representatives from other Lao ministries, private sector representative bodies and development partners.
The survey, which was conducted from May to June 2021 and collected data from more than 1,300 businesses, sought to assess the impact COVID-19 has had on the tourism and hospitality sector in Lao PDR, and also look at recent trends in skills and employment demand. As such, the ‘’survey is the most comprehensive of its type in tourism and hospitality in the Lao PDR and provides a representative picture of the sector, Mr Nouphan explained in his opening remarks.
Key findings underscore the devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses ranging from hotels and restaurants to travel services and handicrafts subsectors across the country. Total employment in the sector has more than halved since reaching its peak in January 2020 and was estimated to stand at 28,400 at the time of the data collection. Business revenues in 2020 fell by 64.6% resulting in the closure of many tourism business, reduction in staff numbers, wages and trading hours. The survey estimates it could take over five years for the tourism and hospitality industry to return to pre-COVID-19 total employment numbers.
In contrast to this troubling impact and disruption to the sector’s services, the survey notes a significant increase in skills alignment between tourism and hospitality training providers and employers, with the number of employees holding tourism and hospitality related qualifications having more than doubled since the last survey conducted in 2018. 51% of employees now hold a formal qualification (up from 30% in 2018) and the illiteracy rate fell from 49% to 42% in the same time span.
In light of these findings both Mr Nouphan and Mme Phommavongsa underlined the importance of looking ahead and to focus on current efforts to revive the tourism sector and increase the alignment between skills supply and demand. ‘’Once the borders reopen, we need to be prepared to welcome international visitors with great service quality and hygiene standards. This means further strengthening the partnerships between training providers and tourism and hospitality businesses, and also building on initiatives such as the Lao Thiao Lao campaign and the LaoSafe programme,’’ Mme Phommavongsa emphasised in her closing remarks.
The survey report can be downloaded in English and Lao by scanning the following QR code.
The conduct and publication of the 2021 Tourism and Hospitality Enterprise Survey of Employment and Skills in Lao PDR was supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), which is co-financed by the governments of the Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - LaoSafe to drive improvements in health and hygiene practices for the tourism and hospitality sector
LaoSafe, a health and hygiene programme for the tourism and hospitality sector, has received official approval from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT)
LaoSafe comprises a series of health and hygiene standards for different subsectors of the tourism and hospitality industry, including for accommodation providers, food and beverage outlets, airlines, tourist attractions, tour guides and drivers.
Operating under an Advisory Committee chaired by Mr Ounthuang Khaophan, Vice Minister of MICT, these standards have been developed with MICT in partnership with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), business associations including the Lao Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Lao Association of Travel Agents, the Lao Tour Guide Association, the Lao Van Association and key private sector partners including Lao Airlines, Lao Skyways, Crowne Plaza Hotel and more. The standards have then been independently reviewed and approved by the MoH.
Darany Phommavongsa, Director General of the Department of Tourism Management and Chair of the LaoSafe Coordination Committee, stated that ‘the goal of the LaoSafe programme is to provide a uniform standard, aligned with international good practices, to align health and hygiene practices across the industry – to improve quality, protect staff and visitors alike and to inspire confidence in tourists considering a trip to the Lao PDR. With a quality programme in place, the Lao tourism sector will be better prepared for a potential re-opening of the international borders.’
Supporting material, including guides and training material is available at www.tourismlaos.org and will be supplemented by training delivered initially by the Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT). When confident of meeting the required standards, businesses will be able to apply for assessment by the Department of Tourism Management, which will visit each business to conduct the assessment onsite. Businesses that pass will be accredited as LaoSafe and receive a range of offline and digital marketing collateral. They will also be listed under a special directory of approved businesses on www.tourismlaos.org and be part of the domestic and regional marketing of the LaoSafe programme. For businesses which do not pass the initial assessment, feedback will be provided, and once improvements have been implemented, these businesses will be able to retake the assessment.
Speaking during the design of the LaoSafe Programme Inthy Deuansavanh, Tourism Board Committee Member at the LNCCI, stressed ‘the importance of having a high quality and rigorous assessment protocol in place in order to build confidence in the programme and raise standards across the sector’.
The LaoSafe programme is currently being piloted in Vientiane, with trainers and assessors undergoing their initial training. Subject to Covid restrictions being eased, it is expected Food and Beverage businesses will be able to undergo training and assessment from November, with accommodation providers from January 2022. Expansion to other key tourism destinations can be expected early in 2022 following the official launch of the LaoSafe Programme in January.
During the pilot phase, training and assessment is being provided free of charge to businesses with the costs supported by the Skills for Tourism Project,LAO/029.
For more information, please visit www.tourismlaos.org or email email@example.com.
Technical and financial support of the LaoSafe programme is being provided by the skills for tourism project, LAO/029. The skills for tourism project is co-financed by the Governments of the Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Tourism and hospitality teachers build their English and online teaching skills
A recent collaboration between the Luxembourg Development Cooperation, the Swiss Development Cooperation and Irish Aid celebrated the successful completion of English language training. The programme was developed and implemented by Vientiane College and Celtic School of English (Ireland) for 28 tourism and hospitality technical and vocational education training teachers coming to Vientiane from 15 public vocational institutions across the country. The programme adapted to many difficulties, with all parties working together to overcome the difficulties presented by the global pandemic in order to facilitate a new training programme that offered much more than originally intended.
Ms Khamla Phetsythone from Luang Prabang Technical College brandishing her new English language programme certificate. Photo credit to Matthew Dakin
The training programme was first envisaged as a four-work week language and cultural immersion programme where the Lao teachers would live with host families in Tralee, Ireland, study at the Celtic School of English and take part in work placements in early 2020. This was initially deferred to 2021, however the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions made this impossible.
In a new setting a new methodology was decided which would feature a blended approach. Therefore, the teachers took part of a mix of face-to-face classes in Vientiane College, combined with online learning facilitated by the Celtic School of English. This new model not only featured online platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom and Kahoot, but also educated the teachers in how these technologies can be used in their own classrooms.
Students waving goodbye to Anne O'Keefe, Director of the Celtic School of English in Ireland, who joined the graduation ceremony via Zoom to wish the participants well. Photo credit to Matthew Dakin
“To us, it was clear that we wanted to find a way in spite of COVID to accompany the teachers on their English language journey” said Catherine Woods, Director of Administration at Vientiane College. “The goal was also to introduce teachers to ways in which they could potentially teach their own classes through an online approach which is becoming increasingly necessary as a way to adapt to COVID-19.’’
This format was new to many of the Lao teachers, however they were guided through the process by the English teachers from both schools. The Lao teachers were provided with a tablet computer to access the online platforms and were mentored in how to use the devices. Classes had a strong emphasis on interactivity and engagement, with Saturday sessions focusing on engaging with Irish culture through interactive activities facilitated through online platforms.
This method proved to be a big hit with the teachers.
It’s been great not just to upgrade my English skills, but also to learn how to teach English in a fun and effective way in my own classroom or even online – for instance, through songs, imitating real-life scenarios or even quizzes, which is also how we were taught about Irish culture, which has been one of my favourite parts of the entire programme.
Ms Khamla Phetsythone, Luang Prabang Technical College
Training participants seized the opportunity to capture photos with their English teachers who acocmpanied them on their English Language journey over the past five weeks. Photo credit to Matthew Dakin
By all reports the course has been a great success. The new skills that the teachers have gained go well beyond the language and cultural immersion originally envisaged by the programme. Due to the successful collaboration between all parties, the trainee teachers have also finished the programme with a new appreciation and understanding of exciting new ways of teaching. These online platforms will no doubt be key to further enhancing the quality of learning TVET tourism and hospitality students will receive on their way towards shaping the future of Lao tourism.
The English language training programme was supported by Irish Aid and the Skills for tourism project (LAO/029), which is co-funded by the governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Lao Thiao Lao launches its own ‘What’s Up Laos’ App
Following the successful implementation of the Lao Thiao Lao national tourism marketing campaign led by the private sector over the past year, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) is now pushing the campaign to greater heights by launching its own app called What’s Up Laos.
The app was launched by Mr Inthy Deuansavanh, who has also been spearheading the successfull Lao Thiao Lao campaign on behalf of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Photo credit to the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
According to the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Lao Thiao Lao campaign has had an undeniable impact on the tourism and hospitality sector, both for customers and businesses. More than 5 million unique users have been reached since September 2020, and private sector businesses have contributed over LAK 400 million of services which were used to support popular online influencers to visit and promote destinations, and to run bi-monthly online competitions. To date, the Lao Thiao Lao page has accumulated over 75,000 followers and with the assistance of paid promotions has had an average reach of 1.7 million people per month since its launch.
Based on a President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the campaign reached people from regional markets such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, even though international tourism was not the main target. This was unexpected, but it is shown that the campaign has a lot of potential to grow. The What’s Up Laos App is therefore not just an important step towards keeping up the momentum of Lao Thiao Lao, but also towards paving the way to a campaign of greater regional scope.
The logo of the newly designed app.
The app comes with two possible user accounts: one for ‘guest’ users which is targeted towards consumers who want to find out about the latest events and hotel deals in specific locations, and one for ‘business’ owners who would like to showcase their services, special promotions and packages. Business users can upload logos, photos, location, special offers, events and contact details, while guests will have the possibility to research and connect with more than 200 businesses that are already registered on the app.
The What’s Up Laos App is available on the Google Play Store, can be directly downloaded by visiting ‘whatsuplaos.la’ or by QR code.
For those interested, the app can be downloaded with this QR code.
Both the Lao Thiao Lao campaign as well as the development of the What’s Up Laos app were supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LA0/029) which is co-financed by the governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant opens its doors in Vang Vieng
On 1st of April 2021, The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant officially opened its restaurant to the public. Staffed by students who are overseen by their teachers and an international management team, The Academy, which was officially inaugurated in November 2020 and is part of the Vientiane Province Technical College, offers students of tourism and hospitality programmes a unique practical training environment in the heart of Vang Vieng.
The Academy will be staffed by students eager to welcome the first guests and learn much sought-after hospitality skills. Photo credit: Phoonsab Thevongsa
Over the past months, students and teachers at the college have been preparing to welcome its restaurant guests. Chef Serge Selbe, a professional with over 30 years of industry experience has been working with teachers and students to introduce them to the modern and professionally equipped kitchen.
The menu we have created with the teachers and students blend international and local produce, combining fresh ingredients, native herbs and spices to create innovative and yet simple dining options,he reveals.
The restaurant and bar area of the Academy, which will be staffed by students under the watchful eyes of their teachers and the management team. Coyright: LuxDev
All meals and drinks offered at The Academy are prepared and served by students who are enhancing their skills in a real-life environment, supported and supervised by their teachers.
Some of the students are experiencing working in a professional environment for the first time in their lives, which makes them exceptionally eager to learn. Students realise that they have a rare opportunity to gain much sought-after skills, making it easier to find a job upon graduation, one of the teachers, Ms Nidsakhone Sihachak added.
The last two months went by very fast, Ms Khambai Vongsodsavanh admitted, a student currently enrolled on the Diploma in Hospitality specialising in Restaurant Operations.
It has been an intense learning experience for all of us ranging from receiving instructions on how to properly use a wide variety of kitchen utensils, being taught how to practice hygienic standards at all times as well as becoming familiar with all the intricacies of working in a bar and a restaurant.
The hotel at The Academy is also open to guests, offering six guest bedrooms that blend style and comfort with simplicity.
Each bedroom has a private balcony and is equipped with A/C, LCD TV, WiFi, complimentary tea/coffee making facilities and ensuite bathroom. Photo credit: Phoonsab Thevongsa
We can facilitate meetings and events in our meeting rooms which are equipped with LCD projectors, whiteboards, flipcharts and WiFi, the General Manager, Savija Pannark, explains.
A wide variety of clients have already made use of our facilities and services, and we are ready to welcome new customers who wish to organise their meetings and events at our facility, she added.
With The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant offering new learning opportunities,
students will see their horizons broadened and their aspirations raised, commented Mr Nouphan Outsa, Director General of the Technical Vocational Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Sports.
It provides students with the vital work-related knowledge and skills which support them as they transition from school to work. In addition to enhancing their practical skills, training in The Academy will provide students with valuable interactions with the world of work, help them prepare to take up employment in the tourism and hospitality sector and achieve their potential.
The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant is supported by the Skills for Tourism (LAO/029) Project which is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Graduates of ‘China Ready’ Programme ready to support tourism businesses
Four representatives from the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism (MICT) have been awarded the ‘China Ready’ Certification Award by the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) after successfully completing the ‘China Ready’ training programme. The specialised programme, delivered online, provides tourism businesses with insights into the Chinese visitor and how to meet their cultural service and culinary needs, as well as marketing techniques to support businesses to win business from the post-COVID-19 Chinese market.
The Vocational Education and Skills Development Adviser from the Skills for Tourism Project, Mr Phouvanh Phommalangsy presented the Awards to Mme Darany Phommavongsa, Ms Bouavanh Soukhathammavong, Ms Douangchay Phothichack and Mr Lae Keoluangta, congratulating the graduates on becoming recipients of the ‘China Ready’ COTRI Certification Award. Mr Phommalangsy stated that “the ‘China Ready’ training has come at a critical and urgent time for the tourism sector as it prepares to reopen its doors to the post-COVID-19 Chinese travel market”.
Mme Darany Phommavongsa, Director General of the Tourism Management Department (Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism), receiving her China Ready’ Certification Award from the Skills for Tourism Project's Vocational Education and Skills Development Adviser, Mr Phouvanh Phommalangsy. © Lamthien Vongkhampan.
Accepting the certificate, MICT Director General of the Tourism Management Department, Mme Darany Phommavongsa said, “The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector has been devastating. China has one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world and the Chinese market may be the key to the recovery of the tourism sector in Lao PDR. This training equips the MICT to work with tourism businesses across the country to help them capitalise on this growth by training them in how to meet the specific needs of the Chinese visitor”.
“It is important that those in the tourism industry are ready in terms of how to deal with Chinese tourists,” noted Ms Bouavanh Soukhathammavong, Technical Officer, Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT). “The ‘China Ready’ Programme provides a very good professional platform helping non-Chinese individuals and businesses to better welcome, understand and engage with Chinese visitors”.
Ms Bouavanh Soukhathammavong, Technical Officer, Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT).
© Lamthien Vongkhampan.
IMCT is rolling out the China-Ready Training Program to tourism businesses across Lao PDR. Focusing mainly on four key areas – cultural awareness, industry specific information, language and promotion of the Chinese market, – participating tourism businesses will be better prepared and equipped to welcome the Chinese tourism market and meet its expectations.
Mme Darany Phommavongsa concluded, “with many challenges on the horizon for the tourism industry, including uncertainty around post-COVID-19 recovery, IMCT is urging businesses to focus on the potential that China, as the biggest outbound tourism market in the world, can offer. Tourism businesses can now prepare to become ‘China Ready’ to ensure that they will be ready to extend a warm, safe and personal welcome to Chinese visitors”. Upskilling training on ‘China Ready’ is offered to tourism businesses by IMCT with support provided by the Skills for Tourism Project.
Since 2017 the Skills for Tourism Project has been providing capacity building opportunities to over 100 staff from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
The Skills for Tourism Project is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Tourism and hospitality technical vocational education colleges strengthen public-private partnerships
As part of the support provided to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) to enhance the quality of technical and vocational education in tourism and hospitality, the Skills for Tourism Project LAO/029 has been working closely with 18 technical and vocational training colleges nationwide to improve cooperation with their local private sector. These efforts have resulted in the formalisation of over 120 public-private sector partnerships (PPPs) between technical colleges and tourism/hospitality enterprises.
TVET students in Savannakhet province are receiving practical insights into baking by a local industry professional, © LuxDev
To help support the development of these partnerships, the Skills for Tourism Project developed two guides which have been endorsed by the MoES. The “Good Practice Guide for Internships” helps schools understand how they can improve the student internship through working more closely with the private sector. The “Education Enterprise Engagement Manual” highlights a myriad of mutually beneficial partnerships that schools and businesses can establish.
During the academic year 2019-2020, all 18 colleges were gradually introduced to both publications as well as to case studies and tools to facilitate their implementation. The colleges were also encouraged to apply for the Skills for Tourism Project grants designed to enhance the quality of internships and to implement innovative partnerships with the private sector. By end of 2020, 122 PPs were formalised between public colleges and private sector actors under these initiatives.
The PPPs cover a variety of activities ranging from signing and implementing internship schemes, organising guest speaker events, job fairs and study tours, to having students provide catering support to private businesses or partake in skills competitions taught and judged by industry experts, amongst many other initiatives.
“PPPs not only offer the benefit of introducing technical and vocational education students to the latest industry practices, but they also lay the foundations for high-quality education and for businesses and vocational training providers to work closely to ensure graduates acquire relevant skills that meet labour-market needs”, elaborated Mr Nouphan Outsa, Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department of the MoES.
Such partnerships are also at the heart of the Skills for Tourism Project’s collaboration with the Vocational Education Financing Facility (VEFF) through which the Project is granting financial support to dual cooperative training (DCT) programmes in tourism and hospitality in three provinces. Building upon the theory training provided by vocational colleges, a key feature of DCT programmes is the close involvement of the private sector, which is in charge of providing the practical training in a business environment.
The Skills for Tourism Project’s support will go on throughout 2021 to continue fostering a culture of partnerships between the public and private sector which will raise the standards in tourism and hospitality and contribute to a successful recovery of the sector in the long run.
The Skills for Tourism Project is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the MoES and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency .
The Vocational Education Financing Facility (VEFF) is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), and co-funded by the German Government through KfW Development Bank.
LAOS - Skills for Tourism Project exceeds expectations for 2020 and sets goals for 2021
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) Steering Committee convened in Vientiane Capital on 10 December to review achievements and progress made to date and to present its goals for the upcoming year. The project was co-chaired by Mr. Nouphanh Outsa, Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Christian Engler, Deputy Director of Cooperation of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Mr. Nicolas Tasch, Attaché of the Luxembourg Embassy.
The Project Steering Committee Meeting of the Skills for Tourism Project gave donors and stakeholders the opportunity to review and endorse the project's past achievements and future plans. Photo credit: Phoonsab Thevongsa
In his opening remarks, Mr. Nouphanh Outsa stated that ‘although the tourism sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, attracting Lao youth to enrol in technical vocational education and to pursue a career in tourism remains important in 2021 for the economic recovery of the country’. To showcase the possibilities that technical vocational education and the tourism industry offer, the Skills for Tourism Project launched a nationwide outreach campaign in 2020 under the theme “Hosts of Laos”.
Mr. Nouphan Outsa, Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports, stressed the importance of having Lao youth enroll in technical vocational education and pursue careers in tourism to contribute to "the economic recovery of the country" in 2021. Photo credit: Phoonsab Thevongsa
The project is well on track for achieving its objectives and has adapted to the uncertain COVID-19 landscape to strengthen the tourism and hospitality sector and pave the way to recovery during the project’s final year of implementation in 2021. In his remarks, Mr. Christian Engler highlighted the ability of the project to adjust in the face of COVID-19 and stressed that Switzerland is ‘looking forward to further support the industry through technical vocational education and skills development’.
Since the project’s inception in 2016, more than 7,300 people have participated in project-supported courses tourism and hospitality. An important focus of the project is to ensure inclusion of people from disadvantage backgrounds in tourism and hospitality training programmes. The project’s objective is for graduates of tourism and hospitality to find employment. To date, 72% of graduates traced have been able to find jobs or pursue further studies. Employment rates have however been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the year 2020.
Support to an industry battered by the pandemic also comes in the form of upskilling those who are still employed in the sector and through a novel hygiene programme for the Lao tourism and hospitality sector that will be deployed in 2021. The Skills for Tourism Project has also provided financial support for the domestic tourism marketing campaign Lao Thiao Lao led by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI).
As part of its efforts to enhance the quality of vocational education, the Skills for Tourism Project completed the construction of a tourism and hospitality practical training facility –The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant – which was inaugurated in Vang Vieng in November 2020. In his remarks Mr Nicolas Tasch stated that ‘this new training facility further showcases every stakeholder’s resolve to equip Lao youth with labour-market relevant skills and to strengthen professional practices worthy of an ASEAN travel destination’.
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency. The Skills for Tourism Project total budget is EUR 15 million, with nearly EUR 3 million planned for its final year of implementation in 2021.
Skills for Tourism Project awards grants for implementation of Dual Cooperative Training Programmes in Tourism and Hospitality
In November 2020 the Skills for Tourism Project LAO/029 signed three grant agreements with public vocational education institutions (Champasak TVET College, Luang Prabang TVET College and Xiengkhouang IVET School) and 12 enterprise partners for implementation of Dual Cooperative Training (DCT) programmes in tourism and hospitality. The grants total over 1.5 billion LAK and will benefit more than 70 students.
Food Production students putting theory into professional practice.
In August this year, the Skills for Tourism Project and the Vocational Education Financing Facility (VEFF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to work together to both further the development of a sustainable Technical Vocational Educationa and Training (TVET) financing mechanism, and to grant financial support to dual cooperative training (DCT) programmes in tourism and hospitality.
With this goal in mind, the Skills for Tourism Project and VEFF launched an expression of interest for public technical vocational colleges aiming to introduce such a training format for their tourism and hospitality diploma programmes. Champasak TVET College, Luang Prabang TVET College and Xiengkhouang IVET School expressed their interest and consequently received technical support from the Skills for Tourism Project to prepare and submit grant applications.
Building upon the theory training provided by the technical vocational colleges, a key feature of DCT programmes is the close involvement of the private sector, with partner companies providing the technical training in a business environment that helps ensure students secure the latest industry skills and knowledge. As such, each technical vocational college identified and established partnerships with leading local businesses as part of the application process.
“Encouraging and supporting such public-private-partnerships between TVET institutions and the industry is of crucial importance in ensuring that trainees acquire labour market-oriented skills by having to put what they learnt at school into professional practice”, Mr. Nouphan Outsa, Director General of the Technical Vocational Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Sports and National Project Director of the Skills for Tourism Project explained.
The grant amounts cover the additional costs of delivering the three year diploma programmes in a DCT format and include contributions towards the additional management and training costs for the school and private sector companies, health and safety related equipment, as well as stipends and health insurance for the students while they are in the workplace. The trainees have been jointly selected by the technical vocational colleges and their private sector partners.
The three year DCT programmes in Hotel Operations (Champasak and Luang Prabang) and Food Production and Food & Beverage Services (Xiengkhouang) have been rolled out in November 2020 and will be completed by August 2023. The private sectors training partners include Le Bel Air Resort, Maison Souvannaphoum, Pullman and The Grand Hotel in Luang Prabang; Suan Sawan Villa, Sengaloun Hotel, Arawan Riverside Hotel, Champasak Grand Hotel and Pakse Mekong Hotel in Champasak Province, and Nongpanaphong Restaurant and Favanhmai Hotel and Restaurant in Xiengkhouang.
The Skills for Tourism Project is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (MoES) and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency. The Vocational Education Financing Facility (VEFF), is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports and co-funded by the German Government through KfW Development Bank.
LAOS - The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant opens its doors in Vang Vieng
During a ceremony on 2 November 2020, the Vientiane Province Technical College officially launched a new tourism and hospitality practical training facility built at the Vang Vieng campus. The facility, named The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant, will provide tourism and hospitality students and the teachers with a modern training environment to improve practical skills.
Minister of Education and Sports, Mme Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune highlighted the “greater knowledge, skills, professional attitude and employability” students will gain at the new practical training facility. Photo by: Phoonsab Thevongsa
The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant is a multi-purpose building offering six guestrooms and a 32-seat restaurant, with services provided by tourism and hospitality students. The five hundred thousand EUR project started in June 2019 and took twelve months to complete.
The Skills for Tourism Project - LAO/029 is assisting the Vientiane Province Technical College to establish the proper operational systems and to build capacity of the management team to enable the college running the training facility in a sustainable manner.
The opening of the new training facility occurs at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting Vang Vieng, a popular tourism destination in the Lao PDR. Director General of the Technical Vocational Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Nouphan Outsa, stated, “Although the sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lao PDR will continue to aim for excellence in the provision of vocational and technical education. This training facility highlights that resolve.”
(From left to right) Luxembourg Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Mr Sam Schreiner, Minister of Education and Sports, Mme Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune and Deputy Director of Cooperation from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Mr Christian Engler, officially inaugurated the Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant on 02 November. Photo by: Phoonsab Thevongsa
Stressing the tourism sector’s proven ability to recover from adversity, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Luxembourg in Vientiane Laos, Sam Schreiner restated that the donors’ shared vision behind the practical training facility remains unchanged: “improved access to work-relevant education, highly sought-after graduates and standards on par with those expected of an attractive ASEAN travel destination.”
Christian Engler, Deputy Director of Cooperation and Head of Employment and Skills Domain, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, commented: “The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant represents an important milestone illustrating the fruitful and lasting collaboration between Lao PDR, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, which will ultimately facilitate the resurgence of a deeply impacted but resilient tourism and hospitality sector.”
As part of her remarks at the opening ceremony, Minister of Education and Sports, Mme Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune, added that, “By giving students exposure to a real service environment at the Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant, Vientiane Province Technical College will improve the quality of education, as well as ensure that graduates of tourism and hospitality courses acquire the knowledge and skills demanded by the industry”.
The establishment of the training facility builds on the Skills for Tourism Project’s aim of improving training facilities and standards of technical vocational colleges in Lao PDR.
The Vientiane Province Technical College is currently offering two-year programmes in tourism and hospitality that lead to a Diploma in Restaurant Operations or a Diploma in Travel and Tourism. There are over 130 students who enrolled in the academic year 2019, with a similar amount expected to enrol in 2020. The college also offers shorter courses in tourism and hospitality that lead to C1 accreditation.
The Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant expects to welcome Vang Vieng locals and tourists taking advantage of the Lao Thiao Lao domestic tourism marketing campaign and the soon to be inaugurated expressway.
The construction and fitting out of the Academy Training Hotel and Restaurant are co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
Luxembourg and Thailand International Cooperation Agency inks Partnership Agreement on Human Resource Development Cooperation for LAOS
The Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency and the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) have established a long-term partnership focusing on the strengthening of human capital development in on Lao PDR. The Letter of Understanding (LoU) signing ceremony took place in Bangkok on 20 October represented by H.E. Jean-Paul Senninger, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Thailand on behalf of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Ms Pattarat Hongtong, Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
H.E. Jean-Paul Senninger, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Thailand (left) and Ms Pattarat Hongtong Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo by: TICA
The LoU aims to establish a development and cooperation framework which focuses on:
- improving the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of projects or programmes in Lao PDR by combining TICA’s and LuxDev’s technical expertise in complementary fields;
- developing and sharing good practices and lessons learned within the framework of human capital development in Lao PDR, particularly in the fields of public health, local/rural development and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Based on TICA and LuxDev’s joint fact-finding mission in Laos in November 2019, certain activities will be launched immediately in late 2020 including:
- technical support and training for the Lao-Luxembourg Health Sector Support Programme - LAO/027; and
- twinning of TVET colleges with Thai tourism-related training institutes for the benefit of the Skills for Tourism porject - LAO/029.
Photo by: Luxembourg Embassy in Bangkok
The agreement will cover the entire duration of the next Indicative Cooperation Programme between Lao PDR and Luxembourg (2021 – 2025) and will end on 31 November 2025. Both parties will review and update the collaboration annually in order to take stock and capitalise on good practice and update the planned collaborations for subsequent years.
LAOS - Handicraft Grants Boost Lao Artisans’ Skills
As highlighted by the recently launched Lao Handicraft Festival in Vientiane, preserving and promoting local handicrafts and culture is more important than ever in the times of Covid-19. To contribute to those efforts, the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), which is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency, supported handicraft-related enterprises in providing training to artisans in their existing supply chain, also with the goal to increase producers’ income.
Thirteen handicraft enterprise applicants qualified for grants that averaged €9,000, their common training goals being production techniques, and for artisans to understand what the market wants.
Ma Te Sai, one of the grantees, is focusing on sewing, for instance. “I want our 20 trainees to finish products at home, not only to earn more income, but so that we save on sewing elsewhere,” said Managing Director Emi Weir. She added that Ms Khambang, an experienced seamstress, conducts the training to ensure quality, as they export and sell online.
Production methods, product demand, and quality also guide trainings by other grant recipients. TaiBaan Crafts Founder Shui-Meng Ng said she gathered artisan groups from several provinces to share their experiences. “Participants discuss and demonstrate their various dyeing techniques and materials.” Additional sessions on quality control rely on feedback from overseas buyers, so participants can understand quality standards, size specifications, expectations on colours and consistency.
The export market also drives Gaebi Studio’s training. “Our current focus is on designing products that target middle and higher classes, both in Laos and internationally,” said Founder/Designer Shin Yoonsun. Gaebi’s training additionally stresses basic business operations with a focus on all operations, from production planning and design to market access and business operations. Achieving standardisation can however prove to be difficult for products that are particularly characterised by their uniqueness. “Electric sewing machines are not very popular in the villages, so they create products made by weaving without them, and based on the villagers’ skills.”
Other grantees, such as Khang Lao Handicrafts, divided training into different categories. “Our sessions help artisans produce better quality items and adjust their work to new market trends and demands,” said Founder Viengkham Nanthavongdouangsy. Khang Lao quality-control training covers all aspects of production from raw materials, yarn, and dying through packaging.
Artisans weaving textiles together during a training organised by Khang Lao. © LuxDev
Much like their training foci, the selected handicraft enterprises’ product lines differ. While TaiBaan’s range aims to suit urban and overseas buyers seeking household items, Ma Te Sai’s training pinpoints products such as masks, bags, Lao sinhs and simple western-style clothing, with a focus on design, colour, and marketing. “We want them to understand what customers like Ma Te Sai expect, and how we can co-create products based on traditional patterns and processes,” Ms Weir explained.
TaiBaan uses the fabric to make home decor items, cushion covers, blankets, and placemats. “We do not change artisans’ woven designs or techniques, but select designs and motifs more suited to urban buyers.” Khang Lao’s founder Ms Viengkham agrees, “Lao textiles are rich in production techniques, and present a variety of unique traditional motifs.”
The grant programme mitigates Covid-19’s impact by adjusting its timeline, while accounting for village’s farming schedule. Even though handicraft production continues at lower levels, retail shops see rewards in investing in their rural supply chain. Artisans are learning new dyeing and sewing techniques, and quality control. They better understand market demand and are adapting their products that remain based on traditional skills and designs.
The Handicraft Skills for Tourism Small Grants Facility is financed by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) which is funded by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS- Lao Thiao Lao Campaign Launched to Boost Domestic Tourism
The Lao Thiao Lao marketing campaign kicked off on 11 September at a launch event in the Vientiane Capital, showing how the public and private sector are coming together to boost domestic tourism against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This public-private partnership brings together the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT), the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and leading tourism and hospitality businesses to support the promotion of domestic tourism, with the LNCCI taking the lead with its implementation.
“This is a unique way in which the public and private sectors have joined together to co-finance a tourism marketing campaign” said LNCCI board member Inthy Deuansavanh, who is spearheading the Lao Thiao Lao campaign for the LNCCI.
Mr Deuansavanh, who is the founder of Green Discovery Laos and the Inthira Hospitality Group, explained, “The campaign will be a largely online, aiming to promote some of the great special offers that are currently available and inspire young Lao people’s sense of adventure to visit some of the amazing destinations around the country”.
The Lao Thiao Lao campaign comes with its own dedicated Facebook page.
Working with key influencers and utilising online advertising and destination promotion videos, the campaign will also feature online competitions to engage and inspire with prizes including free holidays to some of the featured destinations.
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), a project implemented by the MoES and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency, is providing the initial financial support for the Lao Thiao Lao campaign. The LNCCI aims to raise additional funds from the private sector through a range of sponsorship and partnership packages to encourage businesses to contribute financial and in-kind donations towards the campaign.
While boosting domestic tourism will be crucial in supporting tourism and hospitality businesses, Mr Nouphanh Outsa, the Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department at the MoES, also emphasised, “a strong tourism sector is imperative to provide employment opportunities for students undertaking tourism and hospitality studies across the country.”
Raising awareness of the amazing destinations to be visited in Lao PDR is one of the main goals of the campaign.
Mr. Bounlap Duangphoumy, Deputy Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department at MICT added that “the Lao Thiao Lao marketing campaign is a key component of the support being provided to tourism and hospitality businesses to help them survive until international tourism rebounds again”.
Print and broadcast media, such as prominent newspapers and magazines as well as radio will provide feature stories, cover shots, photo essays related to the Lao Thiao Lao campaign, and/or advertising space. The LNCCI has already enlisted The Laotian Times, Una Studio, Tholakhong, Muan.la, Lao Youth Radio and Mahason Magazine, with more expected to sign on.
LNCCI has partnered with RDK Group to bring technical expertise to implement the Lao Thiao Lao campaign with dedicated Facebook (@laothiaolao) and Instagram pages launched last week. The campaign will run from September 2020 to January 2021 with the possibility of extending further into 2021.
Businesses and organisations interested in sponsorship or partnership packages should contact Ms. Khambang Inkham at the LNCCI on 021 453312 directly for all enquiries.
With the COVID-19 situation bringing difficult times to tourism and hospitality businesses in Lao PDR, the Lao Thiao Lao campaign is supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), which is financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland.
LAOS - Tourism and Hospitality Training Hits Top Gear
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) is boosting its tourism and hospitality training throughout Laos in 2020 with the aim of upskilling more than 1 400 people working in the sector through a variety of programmes.
High on the agenda stands the Customer Service Training, led by the Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT). With different programmes for managers and staff, IMCT will train more than 600 industry professionals in Customer Service across 12 provinces, in partnership with the Provincial Departments of Information Culture and Tourism.
Learning by doing: Front desk staff receiving upskilling training by industry leaders as part of the Pheun Than Heng A Sip (PTHAS) Training Programme, © Swisscontact.
“The programmes have been designed with external expertise to cover the essentials for managers and their staff to provide a quality customer experience to their guests,” said IMCT Trainer Boutsaba Chansomphou. Throughout the year, Ms Chansomphou and her team of trainers are delivering these three-day courses which are based on ASEAN common competency standards for tourism professionals.
In addition to the customer service programmes, IMCT are delivering trainings on employee life cycle management for human resources and general managers to understand and see the importance in the different employment stages their staff experience.
"The employee life cycle consists of the six different phases an employee goes through before, during and after working for an organisation,” explains IMCT Lead Trainer Douangchay Phothichack. “Reflecting on such processes is important as it paves the way to quality employment and a more productive tourism and hospitality sector.” These stages run from offering an attractive workplace, targeted recruitment, and assisting new staff in adjusting to the company, to employee development, retention, and separation.
Building on the momentum generated by the Visit Lao-China year campaign in 2019, IMCT have also launched the China-Ready Training Programme which is in full swing, as trainers provide local businesses with information on Chinese outbound tourism, how to better access this market, and ways to tailor products and services to meet the needs of Chinese tourists.
“Developed in partnership with COTRI (the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute), modules have been adapted to the Lao context,” emphasised IMCT Trainer Lae Keoluangta. He added, “We continue improving the capacity of our trainers through online classes by COTRI and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to learn about the effects of COVID-19 on the Chinese tourism market and post-virus travellers’ needs and expectations.”
HR Managers reflect on the different employment phases their staff experience during the Employee Life Cycle Management Training in Pakse, Photo by EDC.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IMCT are also conducting COVID-Awareness Training for 100 micro and small tourism and hospitality businesses, so that they clearly understand the guidelines on COVID-19 prevention as issued by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MoICT), and to build consumer confidence. Kicking off in Vientiane, the half-day programme trains businesses in establishing practical health and safety measures.
The training is delivered onsite and IMCT provides businesses with a COVID prevention kit consisting of posters to educate staff and customers, thermometers and an initial inventory of facemasks, cleaning gloves, hand gel and cleaning disinfectant. Upon completion of the training, businesses sign a commitment to implementing these practices and receive a certificate which can be used for promotional purposes.
Alongside the partnership with IMCT, the Skills for Tourism Project is also working with Swisscontact, eight provincial hotels associations and the Lao Hotel and Restaurant Association in driving the Pheun Than Heng A Sip (PTHAS) Training Programme. During 2020, Swisscontact will be building the capacity of these organisations to train around 300 junior staff working in micro, small and medium enterprises across central and southern Lao PDR on the basics of housekeeping, front office, food & beverage services and food production. Quality assurance support to the local associations is being provided by the School of Tourism and Hospitality at Pakpasak Technical College.
These upskilling efforts are further complemented by the Skills for Tourism Project’s collaboration with DFICT, a respected Lao-owned company, which is currently in the process of training 420 staff on food and beverage, housekeeping and front office services in Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Vang Vieng, which is fully subsidised by the Project.
Upgrading bartending skills in Vientiane and Luang Prabang is another avenue supported by the Skills for Tourism Project. Andrew Mullins, the Spirit House Company Director, will be conducting four five-day intensive training programmes for up to 60 bartenders. Successful graduates receive a professional bartender certification endorsed by the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild (UKBG).
Employee Life Cycle Training participants working together on challenges their businesses face. Photo by EDC
Asked about the training programme, Mr Mullins, who has opened more than 100 high-end bars worldwide, elaborated: “The training program is a combination of interactive workbook theory and practical application that improves both the visible skills and background knowledge of the trainees. Our goal is to instill consistent, sustainable and professional bartending practices alongside exceptional service ideals.”
He further explained, “Theoretical modules include cocktail and spirit knowledge and the bartender's contribution to guest experience, while practical classes take place behind the bar with constant hands-on coaching and appraisal to inspire confidence and maximise knowledge retention." The first classes are scheduled for 21-25 September in Luang Prabang and 5-9 October in Vientiane, with additional dates to follow.
With the COVID-19 situation bringing difficult times to tourism and hospitality businesses in the Lao PDR, these training opportunities are provided either free of charge or at heavily subsidised prices to help support businesses in the sector, through the LAO/029 project, which is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Learning is a never-ending journey like Oudone journey.Capacity building
Oudone Thangsombath is a teacher at Champasack Technical and Vocational Education College. “Because I did not graduate from a teacher training college, I lacked pedagogical skills. It made my teaching really hard in the past. Until I joined the ASEAN National Trainers and Assessors Programme supported by Skills and Tourism Project - LAO/029 to further develop my teaching skills, now I have more hands-on and practical experiences. I am confident to pass this knowledge and skills to my students”.
LAOS - Making change happen in BolikhamxayThe stories of Phailana Mounjampy and Phouvilay Thadavong, the teachers from Bolikhamxay province
Phailana is standing in front of her class, smiling and confident. The students are looking up to her and listen as she is explaining the difference between white wine and red wine and how they accompany various dishes.
Seeing her interact with her students and hearing her talk about the service sector with such passion, you would not have guessed that there was a time she did not feel so comfortable teaching.
"In the beginning, I was much more nervous," says the 22-year-old, "but through practice I have become more and more confident." Phailana Mounjampy, The young teacher is giving classes to students of the diploma in Food and Beverage Services at Bolikhamxay Technical School in Paksan. The school also offers a diploma in Food Production which is taught by teacher, Phouvilay.
Phailana (left) and Phouvilay (right). Credit Phoonsab Thevongsa
Both of them were recruited after they respectively completed the diplomas in Food and Beverage Service Operations and Food and Beverage Production Operations at the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH). They were recipients of a full scholarship for their studies provided by the LAO/029 - Skills for Tourism Project.
Telling us about their experiences, the young women fondly recollect what they liked most about their time at LANITH.
“I learned the real art behind the service sector, from setting up tables to greeting guests” explains Phailana. “And I started to approach things in a more structured way,” she says. “They were also very strict,” exclaims Phouvilay, adding, “but in a good way. And they treated all students equally, which I really appreciated.”
While Phailana had a clear vision of her future from the start and applied for the scholarship the moment she heard of it, Phouvilay’s path was not as straightforward. Unsure about working in the service sector, Phouvilay submitted her application with some hesitation. Yet, in spite of the programme’s competitiveness and high number of applicants, she made the cut!
With a cheeky smile she recalls the moment she received the offer. "I almost dropped my papaya salad," she chuckles. Much to her own surprise, Phouvilay came to like the course and it sparked a real interest in her for the hospitality sector.
Both teachers hope to kindle the same enthusiasm among their students. Phouvilay goes on to clarify: "Before I started at LANITH, I had no idea about European or international food, I never even tried it before. It really opened my eyes!” It is that kind of passion and curiosity she now wants to instill in her students. “I see myself in them,” she says. “That’s why I want to keep them motivated and show them all the different opportunities that the sector has to offer.” Phailana nods in agreement, “I get so happy when I see my students progressing. That’s the best part of being a teacher!”
The diplomas in Food and Beverage Service Operations and Food and Beverage Production Operations at the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) were supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), to provide people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the knowledge and skills to find their first job in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The Skills for Tourism Project is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Celebrity TV Chef Boosts Lao Students’ Cooking Skills
Luxembourg’s celebrity TV chef and cookbook author Anne Faber conducted a hands-on workshop for Lao ‘Food Production’ students at Vientiane’s Pakpasak Technical College on 20 February to teach them the underlying skills of Western-style food preparation.
The class culminated in a lunch served by the college’s ‘Food and Beverage Service’ students at the Lanith Cafe for some 20 distinguished guests, including Mr. Sam Schreiner, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg in Lao PDR.
Ms. Faber teamed up with Pakpasak Technical College teachers to guide 20 students in creating a traditional Luxembourgish home-style meal from scratch, while adopting local ingredients found in the markets of Vientiane.
I wanted them to better understand the background of the dishes and to learn the skills needed to prepare full Western meals
© Bart Verweij
To accomplish this, the star of “Anne’s Kitchen” TV show divided the class into groups and assigned them to complete different tasks in workstations. They then worked together for the main dish, Kniddelen, an iconic Luxembourg mainstay.
“I just showed the students what to do, the process and timing, and they did it,” Ms. Faber explained, adding, “They helped each other, learned very quickly and were very focused. There was no air of competition, and they were extremely proud of their achievements.”
© Bart Verweij
Ms. Daosoukoula Vilay, a food production teacher at the college, said, “It was an honour for me and my students to have an opportunity to work with Chef Anne in preparing Luxembourgish dishes for our guests.”
Student Ms. Phonemany Keokhampheng, noted:
We saw the difference between the art of Lao and Western cooking. That made us want to improve ourselves and explore other cuisines further. We loved all the food that we made, especially the Luxembourgish dumplings that are so tasty, fragrant, and mouth-watering.
© Bart Verweij
To further enhance their skills, Ms. Faber showed the students how to adapt local ingredients and cooking equipment to create a Western meal. “I also built on what they have already learned at the college about the details of serving Western guests…how to select the appropriate plates and stemware for the specific dishes, and how to prepare the dishes in the correct order to deliver a fresh meal at the right temperature.”
Mr. Schreiner, who toured the kitchen and classrooms before partaking in the lunch, commended the efforts of Ms. Faber, the teachers and the students, while noting the progress being made by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) in enhancing tourism and hospitality vocational education and skills development in Lao PDR.
The project is moving forward and continually building students’ skills. Students are receiving good training and education. Therefore, they will be able to find jobs and start a career in hospitality.
Mr. Schreiner stressed that the project also helps the Lao tourism economy by improving service standards, a key element in moving the industry forward.
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland. It is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - The country gets “China Ready”
The Institute of Mass Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT) launched the China-Ready Training Programme on 25-26 December 2019, in Vientiane Capital to provide local tourism businesses with information on Chinese outbound tourism, how to better access this market, and ways to tailor products and services to better meet the needs of Chinese tourists.
Photo by Vimaphone Phiou On
With the support of IMCT, the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) and its Founder and CEO Prof Dr Wolfgang Georg Arlt adapted the international China Ready Training programme specifically for the Lao market. At the organized seminar, he delivered China Ready’s four-module pilot programme to more than 30 participants representing key public and private sector stakeholders.
As part of the build-up to this event, COTRI trained 12 trainers from IMCT who will go on to deliver the China-Ready programme in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng in January, before rolling the programme out to a further six other provinces during 2020.
IMCT Lead Trainer and Curriculum Developer Bouavanh Soukhathammavong said, “The objective is to provide information about the Chinese market to attract more visitors, who spend more money. Businesses should know how to satisfy the different needs of the Chinese market.”
China Ready comes on the heels of a successful Visit Laos-China Year 2019, said IMCT Deputy Director Darany Phommavongsa. “The programme’s launch in Vientiane Capital seeks ways of welcoming more Chinese tourists, while contributing to the economy.”
Deputy Director Darany emphasised that tourism businesses need to evolve. “We need to get them ready. This is very important. Businesses must understand what products and services the Chinese want, and what they spend on. They also need to learn how to attract the Chinese market. How do we get them?”
The first of the four modules that make up the China Ready programme focuses on China’s outbound tourism development and current situation, with a spotlight on Laos and the Mekong region. The session provides demographic data and information about the Chinese market. The second module explores best practices in hospitality, customer service and catering to Chinese tourists.
The third module zeroes in on creating products for different niche Chinese market segments and adapting existing ones, including how to offer Chinese mobile payment systems.
The final module of China Ready explores communication and distribution channels, especially on social media, and how to connect with distribution partners in China. The training is in Lao language, and participants receive a Certificate of Attendance.
The China Ready Training programme is supported by the Skills for Tourism Project • LAO/029, which is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (LuxDev).
LAOS - "If people ask me how I got this job, I just say that I chose the right training”.
LAOS - Once upon a training: Stories of Oudone and Porvang
Teachers can still learn too!
Oudone, Teacher at Champasak Technical College, Champasak Province, © LuxDev
30-year old Oudone is teaching Tourism, Housekeeping and Front Office at the Champasak Technical College. Passionate about her job and always open for new challenges, she participated in a hotel internship in Bangkok and other trainings aiming to scale up the capacities of Technical and Vocational Education and Training teachers.
Talking about the trainings, she says “I really enjoyed the courses and shared all the things I’ve learned with my colleagues”.
As she improved her skills through the trainings, Oudone was given additional responsibilities at the College. She is now managing six accommodation rooms at the school. Word of her competencies spread and Oudone was approached by a hotel to work as a part-time trainer in Housekeeping. She’s enjoying both her roles as a teacher and trainer and hopes to motivate her students to pursue a career in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Oudone explains “I try to make my students aware of all the different job opportunities. It’s a sector that can provide a good income and secure future!”
Asked about her own future, the young teacher says that she would like to further develop her skills, especially her English language skills. “I can still learn and improve, just like my students!”.
Oudone participated in four different trainings supported by the Skills for Tourism Project • LAO/029:
- “Professional Hotel Internship in Thailand” for 3 months
The Hotel Internship Programme provides Lao tourism and hospitality teachers with the opportunity to learn and acquire ‘industry-current’ skills, based on real life situations. Upon their return, the teachers are able to deliver that experienced-based-knowledge back to seven different Lao Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools throughout the country.
- Master Trainer of Housekeeping Operations in collaboration with Singapore
In-service training of 20 TVET teachers/trainers from three ministries related to Tourism and Hospitality to train in Singapore creating a cohort of master trainers in Housekeeping Operations. The training provided the trainers and teachers with the opportunity to update their knowledge and acquire ‘industry-current’ housekeeping skills, based on ASEAN standards. Through the conduct of a 5-day multiplier workshop in Vientiane Capital, the 20 master trainers trained an additional 60 trainers and TVET teachers in Housekeeping Operations.
This initiative is a collaboration between Lao PDR and Singapore, which is financially supported by the Temasek Foundation International and the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), with technical support by the Institute of Education - Education Services, Singapore.
- Master Trainer of Front Office Operations in collaboration with Singapore
Continuing the effective collaboration with Temasek Polytechnic College, Singapore, the project supported the training of a further 20 master trainers in Front Office Operations and 20 master trainers in Food & Beverage Service. Replicating the successful cascade training model, an additional 120 trainers and TVET teachers are upskilled.
- ASEAN National Trainer and Assessor Programme
The Programme supports existing and new Tourism and Hospitality I/TVET teachers to acquire the ASEAN National Trainer & Assessor qualification. The programme was delivered by the Institute of Mass-Media, Culture and Tourism (IMCT) together with (the new competency-based T/H Diploma) Curriculum Implementation training provided by the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI).
I have found my signature!
Porvang, 21 year-old from Phonsay District, Luang Prabang, © Bart Verweij
Porvang is adjusting his uniform as he gets ready to welcome new guests to Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel, one of the most renowned hotels in Luang Prabang. The 21-year-old has just been promoted to the front office department after starting off as a waiter. As the guests approach, he binds a bracelet around their wrist. “It’s for good luck” he says. Porvang seems confident and happy in his new role, however the path to a career in hospitality and tourism was not an obvious one.
Originally from Phonsay district, Porvang moved to the orphanage in Luang Prabang at the age of 8, where he stayed until the completion of his secondary school. “I always had an interest in English” he comments, “and I would often go to English conversation practice where I would talk to tourists to improve my language skills. However, in my last year of secondary school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do afterwards.”
Things started to take shape when he heard about the short-term training in Food Production at the LANITH Luang Prabang Training Centre. Intrigued by the short length of the training and the opportunity to find employment afterwards, he signed up.
Talking about the course, his face lights up “this training changed my life, it’s where I learned my signature, my path”. He goes on to explain that “at Lanith, you receive a good overview, English lessons and you learn about service. After all, you should know how to serve lunch for many people.”
Alichith Phengsavanh, HR Manager, who recruited Porvang right after he graduated from the training, confirms that the students gain a good basic level through the course. “It’s short but you can see that the training provides the right foundations, they learn how to work in a team and they seem passionate about hospitality”.
When asked about how his life has changed since he started working, Porvang is smiling modestly, “at the beginning, I would go to work with my bicycle, now I bought a motorbike!”
Reflecting about his future goals and ambitions, Porvang is eager to further develop his skills and hopes to become front office manager. As he looks at the front office desk, he adds “if there’s one thing I learned, is that learning never stops”.
Porvang carrying the welcome tray for new guests, © Bart Verweij
The three-month Certificate 1 (C1)-accredited training programmes in Food Production, Food and Beverage Service and Housekeeping are supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) and delivered by the LANITH Luang Prabang Training Centre.
These training courses which focus, in particular, on inclusion of people from disadvantaged backgrounds in tourism/hospitality training and employment, are designed to equip young women and men with the required skill set to land an entry-level job in the tourism and hospitality sector. The LANITH Luang Prabang Training Centre supplements the high quality practical training with intensive English language lessons and basic employability skills.
Since 2017, the project supported over 150 students (75% of whom are women). All graduates have secured employment in the tourism and hospitality sector, including at leading hotels and restaurants in Luang Prabang.
LAOS - Walk across the Job Bridge!
Finding your first job in the tourism and hospitality sector can be difficult, but a new job skills training programme is helping to make that journey easier.
The “Job Bridge Programme” is a 10-week English language and Job Skills training programme designed to equip trainees with the right skillset to secure their first job in the tourism and hospitality sector. An initiative of the Skills for Tourism Project • LAO/029, the training programme is designed and delivered by Vientiane College with the support of a number of hospitality businesses across Vientiane Capital. The programme combines a variety of components, including English language training, employability skills, work-place exposure and CV and interview preparation.
Find out more details about the Job Bridge, watch here:
As the second round of the “Job Bridge Programme” is about to be launched, let’s have a look at two former trainees and what impact the training had on them:
I have gained my independence!
Katay, 29 years old from Vientiane Capital
“You have to make sure it’s fresh” says Katay as she is carefully picking fruits.
Katay is working as Head Chef at Earth Bar, one of the most popular bars in the capital. From whipping up a burger in no time to overseeing the waiters, the young woman also takes care of the food supplies and enjoys her walks to the market. Asked about how she landed the job, Katay’s strong willpower becomes visible.
Determined to improve her skills and further support her two children as a single mom, Katay signed up to the 10-week long Job Bridge Programme delivered by Vientiane College and funded by the Skills for Tourism Project • LAO/029. “It’s the only training I’ve ever participated in” she says “I didn’t go to high school, so this was a unique chance for me”. The Job Bridge programme doesn’t require prior education and aims to help people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, to land their first job in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Katay has fond memories of the programme, especially moments spent with fellow students and the many visits to hotels and restaurants. “I enjoyed the real-life exposure, as you see how everything is really done”.
When she completed the training, Katay was employed as an assistant chef, but very soon her skills caught the attention of her supervisor and she was promoted to Head Chef. The inspiring young woman is making her way in the industry.
She goes on to explain “that working in hospitality is not always perceived as very prestigious, but for me it is, as this job has allowed me to take care of my kids and my life. I don’t have to rely on a man to provide for me. I have gained my independence!”
“I’m not afraid to talk to guests anymore, I even like it now!”
Vannalith, 20 years old from Savannakhet
“I’ve been living in Vientiane for 8 months now!” says Vannalith. The 20-year-old Savannakhet native came to the capital in the pursuit of a better future. He was hoping to work in the hospitality sector but soon realized that he felt too shy to approach customers, especially when it came to talking in English. Looking for ways to improve his communication skills, a friend suggested to apply for the “Job Bridge Programme”. Intrigued by the promise of intensive English language training as well as job skills development, Vannalith made sure he was one of the selected candidates.
Within the 10-week “Job Bridge Programme”, the young man learned a great deal about employability skills and was exposed to real life work placement. “I loved the visits to the different hotels and restaurants as well as the role plays, says Vannalith, “We received a lot of practice and not just theory.”
Within a couple of days after graduation, Vannalith was recruited by the prestigious Crowne Plaza Hotel. “It’s a dream come true!” he exclaims. Starting off as a runner, he soon became a full-time waiter. He enjoys the daily contact with people from around the world. “You know, during the training I learned that people are just people. And it’s true! I’m not afraid to talk to guests anymore, I even like it now!”
Asked about his future goals, he doesn’t shy away from the idea of becoming a supervisor in 2 years’ time. And with the biggest grin, he adds “and then manager!”
LAOS - Breaking ground for new Tourism and Hospitality Practical Training Facility in Vang Vieng
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new Tourism and Hospitality practical training facility on the Vang Vieng campus of the Vientiane Province Technical College on 24 June 2019.
This multi-purpose building will be used as a practical training facility for students enrolled on tourism and hospitality programmes and at the same time can function as a small hotel enterprise offering six guest rooms for let, providing students with the opportunity to hone their practical skills in a real work environment.
The construction and equipping of the practical training facility is one of the ‘improving training facilities and standards of TVET and IVET schools and colleges’ initiatives under the Skills for Tourism LAO/029 project, which is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency. The United Nations Office for project Services was contracted to provide a ‘turnkey’ service covering the design, construction and fitting out of the facility transitioning the newly constructed building into a functional Tourism and Hospitality practical training facility.
Vang Vieng is a flagship tourism destination in Lao PDR, however the location lacks a modern vocational training facility for tourism and hospitality. Therefore, the new construction will host the Tourism and Hospitality Department of the Vientiane Province Technical College, offering new and improved tourism and hospitality programmes in a contemporary environment. At the same time, Vang Vieng’s strategic location facilitates access to potential students from the surrounding area.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Kongsy Sengmany, Vice Minister of Education and Sports, said that “developing tourism and ensuring that Lao people are able to take full advantage of the employment opportunities the sector offers is a priority for the country and is in line with the vision and objectives of the eighth National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016 - 2020 and Lao PDR Tourism Strategy 2006 – 2020. The construction of a modern practical skills training facility offers access to better training which in turn improves the employability of Tourism and Hospitality graduates”.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, H.E Mr Jean-Paul Senninger, Ambassador designate of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also welcomed the initiative stating that “the practical training facility will increase the possibility for ensuring the labour-market orientation of programmes. Delivering training relevant to the workplace, respected by employers and in high demand by students will support Lao PDR to reach international standards in the area of tourism and hospitality.”
Mrs Barbara Jäggi Hasler, Deputy Director of Cooperation/Head of Employment and Skills Domain, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, commented that “providing Vientiane Province Technical College with a modern practical skills training facility will have many benefits, especially in terms of access. Students from the ethnic minority secondary school located on the outskirts of Vang Vieng town will be able to attend Tourism and Hospitality programmes. The offer of relevant courses will also most likely increase the demand and number of students enrolled.”
The practical training facility is expected to be completed and ready to welcome Tourism and Hospitality students in October 2019.
LAOS - Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) gets good marks at its mid-term review
Government officials, private sector representatives and development partners met at a debriefing workshop in Vientiane last week for the Mid-Term Review of the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029). Being half-way through the project’s implementation phase, an external evaluation team from B,S,S. Economic Consultants (Basel, Switzerland) conducted an assessment of the results achieved by the project to date. The assessment focused on four pillars, namely the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the project results. The mid-term review is considered an important milestone and learning opportunity to reflect on what has been successful so far and what aspects of the project may further attention.
The Skills for Tourism Project, which supports improvements in tourism and hospitality vocational education and skills development in Lao PDR, has a particular emphasis on supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire the skills needed to work in hotels, restaurants and the greater tourism economy.
In his opening remarks, Mr Nouphanh Outsa, Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, highlighted the importance of workforce development to improve the performance of the tourism sector in the country, and acknowledged the valuable contribution of the Skills for Tourism Project in this regard.
Mrs Barbara Jäggi Hasler, Deputy Director of Cooperation/Head of Employment and Skills Domain for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) emphasized the substantial achievements of the project since it began in September 2016, including support to the Labour Market Information System and the development of competency-based programmes and curricula.
Also speaking at the review meeting, Ms Julie Wagner, Attachée at the Embassy of Luxembourg in Lao PDR commented that investment in vocational education and skills development is of utmost importance to take advantage of the demographic window of opportunity for the young Lao population and, since the project is now half-way through its implementation, it is a good moment to review what has been done and how to proceed in the future.
During their mission in Lao PDR, the experts from B,S,S. Economic Consultants interviewed over 30 different stakeholders from public and private sector as well as training providers, employers, graduates and teachers. The team travelled to three different locations, including Luang Prabang, Pakse and Vientiane Capital.
The overall assessment of the evaluation team is that the project is highly relevant, well managed and likely to achieve its goals by 2021. The project is aligned with the National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016 - 2020, as well as the Education Sector and TVET Development plans of Lao PDR. It is likely that the objective of 5,000 beneficiaries, who participated in vocational education and skills development programmes supported by the project, will be surpassed. However, the project also faces challenges, especially in terms of sustainability of results after its completion. This is of particular concern in terms of ensuring the sustainable financing of vocational education and skills development in Lao PDR in the medium- to long-term.
The report of the mid-term review will be completed by the end of June and the findings and recommendations further considered by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grandy Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland.
LAOS - Short courses paving a career path in tourism and hospitality
Students graduated their three months Certificate 1 Level course in Food Production and Food and Beverage Service in Lanith Luang Prabang Training Centre
A graduation ceremony was held for the 30 students who successfully completed three-month Certificate 1 (C1)-accredited training programmes in Food Production and Food and Beverage Service at the Lanith Luang Prabang Training Centre from January to March 2019. All 30 graduates have already secured jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector, primarily at leading hotels and restaurants in Luang Prabang.
These training courses which focus, in particular, on inclusion of people from disadvantaged backgrounds in tourism/hospitality training and employment, are supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029). The trainings are designed to equip young women and men with the required skills set to land an entry-level job in the tourism and hospitality sector. The Lanith Luang Prabang Training Centre supplements the high quality practical training with intensive English language lessons and basic employability skills. All tuition fees are covered and students receive a monthly stipend, as well as accommodation and support costs for the entire duration of the course, as well as for one month after graduation to ease their transition to employment.
Since 2017, LAO/029 has supported more than 100 young people (75% of whom are women) from disadvantaged backgrounds to study at the Lanith Luang Prabang Training Centre. The courses have led to the employment of all graduates within the sector.
At the graduation ceremony, Mr. Xaisavanh Chanthasith, Deputy Director of Luang Prabang Provincial Education and Sports Department, commented that Food and Beverage Service, Food Production and Housekeeping Operations are key areas in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Luang Prabang. Graduates of such programmes are in high demand and can contribute to the further development of the tourism sector in the province.
Mr Por Vang, who graduated from the same training programme in 2017, also attended the graduation ceremony and gave an inspiring speech wherein he shared his experiences of working in the tourism and hospitality sector following completion of his training. Starting off as a waiter, he is now working in the front office department of the renowned Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel. He praised the support received and the quality of the training he obtained. After only three months training, he had developed his confidence and was ready to tackle the workplace. He also encouraged students to continue developing their knowledge and skills stating that “learning never stops”.
LAOS - Bridge to Employment
On 6 December, a certificate ceremony was held for the 38 trainees who successfully graduated from the “Job Bridge” Programme.
“Job Bridge” is a 10-week English language and Job Skills training programme designed to equip trainees with the right skillset to secure their first job in the tourism and hospitality sector. An initiative of the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), the training programme was designed and delivered by Vientiane College with the support of a number of hospitality businesses across Vientiane Capital.
The programme combines a variety of components, including English language training, employability skills, work-place exposure and CV and interview preparation. It is designed specifically for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain the requisite skills in order to secure gainful employment within the tourism and hospitality sector.
At the graduation ceremony, Daleen Douangsivanh, Coordinator of the Job Bridge Training Programme at Vientiane College, emphasised the importance of the programme and stated that “the programme offered the possibility to work in cooperation with the Tourism and Hospitality community and to receive support from a wide-range of partners which made a significant impact on the success of the training. The trainees have shown incredible development and the aims of the programme have hit their target.”
Phithuck Chanthavong (Thuck), one of the trainees commented that: “This programme gave me and everyone else on the course the chance for new experiences we never could have before. I want to continue learning and studying English to work in hospitality, and I hope to get a job working as a receptionist.”
Prior to graduation, a job fair was held with leading tourism and hospitality businesses including the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Inthira Group, Naked Espresso, O’Gradys Irish Pub and Restaurant, Common Grounds Cafe, Lao Orchid Hotel, Le Thatluang D’oR Hotel, Joma Bakery Cafe, Doi Ka Noi Restaurant, Tyson’s Kitchen and 108 Jobs. The trainees benefited from communicating directly with employers, undertook interviews at the fair and are hopeful of securing employment in the near future.
The Job Bridge curriculum is currently under consideration for accreditation by the Ministry of Education and Sports and is expected to be replicated in Vientiane Capital and expanded to other locations between 2019 and 2021 with the goal of training 750 people from disadvantaged backgrounds and supporting their transition into employment in tourism and hospitality.
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (LuxDev).
Skills for Tourism supports improvements in tourism and hospitality technical and vocational education and training and skills development in Lao PDR. A particular emphasis of the project is to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire the skills needed to work in hotels, restaurants and the greater tourism economy.
LAOS - Marking World Tourism Day with the launch of the Sabaidee English App to improve language skills in tourism and hospitality
World Tourism Day is globally celebrated on 27 September each year to raise awareness on the contribution tourism makes to sustainable development. This year, the theme is “Tourism and Digital Transformation”. It focuses on the importance of digital technologies in providing innovative approaches to skills development to prepare young people for their future of work. With this in mind, the Technical and Vocational Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports – with the support of the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) – has created an English language mobile app, specifically designed for the tourism and hospitality sector.
© Phoonsab Thevongsa
Called Sabaidee English, the app aims to improve English language competences of students and employees in tourism and hospitality. Through a series of fun and entertaining exercises and games, users can practice and improve their communication skills in English. The app, which is available on both Android and iOS platforms, is completely free of charge and once downloaded, can be used offline. In its testing phase, Sabaidee English was very well received by students and teachers alike. It has also been welcomed by employers as an effective and accessible way to develop the English language skills of staff.
© Phoonsab Thevongsa
"As 2018 is Visit Laos Year, special attention needs to be placed on developing the capacities of people currently employed in the tourism and hospitality sector, as well as those undertaking education and training for future careers in the industry. Through the development of Sabaidee English, the Technical and Vocational Education Department is committed to improving English communication skills for employees in tourism and hospitality”, says Mr Nouphanh Outsa, Director General, Technical and Vocational Education Department.
© Phoonsab Thevongsa
Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has celebrated World Tourism Day on 27 September each year. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.
The Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029) is co-financed by the Governments of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (LuxDev).
LAOS - Public and private sectors collaborate for Tourism and Hospitality Skills Training in Sekong Province
In collaboration with the Skills for Tourism Project LAO/029, Swisscontact is implementing the Pheun Than Heng A Sip Training Programme (PTHAS) which seeks to upgrade hospitality skills amongst 500 MSME (Micro Small Medium Enterprise) staff and support 500 more people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the tourism and hospitality sector in selected southern and central provinces.
On 5th September 2018, 24 staff members from micro, small and medium tourism/hospitality enterprises received PTHAS certificates of completion for a hospitality upskilling training programme. The training was delivered by industry experts from the neighbouring Champasak Hotel and Restaurant Association (CHRA). The staff members completed 12 competency assessed units in either food and beverage services or housekeeping. The training was held on 4 – 5 September 2018.
Certificates were presented in Lamam town by Mr. Thongkharn Khounpaserth, president of the Sekong Hotel, Guesthouse Restaurant Group (SK HGRG) and signed by both SK HGRG and Mr. Sounbanh Daesomphong, the Deputy Director of the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism (DICT).
Swisscontact is supporting the SK HGRG to deliver the PTHAS training programme under the Skills for Tourism (Project LAO/029).
Project LAO/029 is supported by the Governments of Lao PDR, Switzerland and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
LAOS - Successful completion of tourism/hospitality training in Champasak
21 staff members from micro, small and medium tourism/hospitality enterprises received certificates of completion of the Pheun Than Heng A Sip Training Programme (PTHAS) in Champasak province in July. Certificates were presented in Pakse by Madame Mala Chanthalam, Deputy Director of the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism (DICT) and Mr Thouy Phetsavanh, president of the Champasak Hotel and Restaurant Association (CHRA).
The staff members completed 12 competency assessed units in either food and beverage service or housekeeping, delivered by industry trainers coordinated by the CHRA. Swisscontact is supporting the CHRA to deliver the PTHAS training programme under the Skills for Tourism Project LAO/029.
In collaboration with Skills for Tourism Project LAO/029, Swisscontact implements the Pheun Than Heng A Sip Training Programme.
This seeks to upgrade hospitality skills amongst 500 MSME staff and support 500 more people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the tourism and hospitality sector in selected southern and central provinces.
Project LAO/029 is supported by the Governments of Lao PDR, Switzerland and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Laos - More skilled workers are ready for hospitality industry in Luang Prabang province
In February 2018, 18 young women completed a three-month Food and Beverage Service training programme at the Satellite Training Centre, part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in Luang Prabang. The Centre was engaged by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), in partnership with the Luang Prabang Provincial Education and Sports Department, to train participants from disadvantaged backgrounds. At the time of graduation, 11 trainees had already landed jobs in the hospitality sector in Luang Prabang, with the remaining trainees expected to secure employment in the coming days.