The spread of COVID-19 has severely affected hotel and tourism businesses in Myanmar. The Union of Myanmar Travel Association (UMTA) estimates that it will take at least nine months for the entire hospitality sector to be operational again.
The hospitality industry in Myanmar is slowly returning to business with hygiene precautions in place after the number of daily new Covid-19 cases has begun to slow down. The Vocational Skills Development Program (VSDP) adapted some of its hospitality training courses to temporarily provide training through e-learning platforms. Training has taken place since early April, with an aim to help hospitality businesses stay relevant and strengthen the capacity building of their staff.
Online training was first implemented for supervisory skills to over 250 participants via the video-conferencing app Zoom, covering topics such as leadership, communication, teamwork, conflict management and time management.
For many participants, it was their very first experience with online learning. Kyaw Myat Thu, a supervisor from Hline Tet Hotel, commented
“Initially, I had my hesitation since I had no prior exposure to e-learning. But it turned out to be timesaving and easily accessible, and I still get to interact with the trainers, ask questions and perform assignments. Of course, with the regular training approach, we are where the action happens as it happens. But at a time like this, remote learning gave me an opportunity to keep on track and expand my knowledge.”
In collaboration with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MoHT), the VDSP also conducted a 6-week digital marketing course in early May for 38 participants from hotels and tourism businesses, The aim was to equip the participants with skills and knowledge to better engage with their online audience and execute effective content planning for different online platforms.
Since 2015, the VSDP has worked with the MoHT, training institutions and over 130 partner hotels to promote skills development and employment in the hospitality sector. As in face-to-face training, the VSDP is supporting the online training participants with accessible vocational education and training recognised by the MoHT. The VSDP aims to promote improved livelihood opportunities for women and men in targeted areas and occupations in Myanmar. The Program is implemented by Swisscontact and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).