Ms. Lihuoy Tiev - Skills Made Life Better

Not different from hundreds young hospitality workers in Kampot, Lihuoy Tiev (20) has begun to obtain some income from tourism sector at the heels of her high school graduation. Lihuoy lives in Kampot, one of four Cambodian coastal provinces and also a popular visiting site. The coastal region alone generated more than 800,000 tourists in 2018.[1] The large number of tourists in turn places a sizeable demand on skilled workers. This presented a challenge for Lihuoy, including many local workers who could not accumulate enough hospitality skills.

In spite of the absence of hospitality skills, in late 2017, Lihuoy was first started to work at a local restaurant, Atelier, as she had to sustain her family consisting of her mother and niece. She started the job as service staff. Even the job was not the best-paid one, but her determination and engagement in hospitality field is fueled by her own passion. As service staff, her basic know-how is based on few instructions from her colleagues and her observation; for her hospitality skill is learning from practicing. Hospitality training is new to her only after she has been told by the manager about HoKa (Hospitality for Kampuchea) training course. It was interesting to her, and she joined the training in 2018. She continued, "He [manager] did not directly refer me to the training ... but I think this is a good opportunity for me, because I have never joined any hospitality training yet before."

In Kampot, more than 6,300 workers are in tourism sector, approximately 30% of which were only trained in some ways;[2] Lihuoy is one of seventy-four hospitality workers that has been trained by HoKa. HoKa is a dual-approach in-house training by Mekong Inclusive Growth and Innovation Programme (MIGIP) of Swisscontact targeted at the existing low-skilled workers of small and medium-sized hotels and restaurants. The course provided profound knowledge of industrial-oriented skills, from hard skills-serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink, to soft skills-selling, safety and security efficiency. Lihuoy realised the training was practical for hospitality workers since they could learn at school and came back to practice at workplace all together. Nonetheless, she has acquired not only those practical hospitality skills, but also socialising skills which boosted her morale at working place. To her, "I felt self-confident as I had obtained substantial resources [knowledge] for my own self."

[1] Statistics Retrieved from

[2] Statistics Retrieved from Kampot Provincial Department of Tourism

In mid 2018, Lihuoy was promoted to team leader and later as assistant to manager. Mr. David Meinnel, owner of Atelier restaurant, affirmed her potentiality, “Lihuoy who has participate [sic] to the training last year is now my assistant manager and she’s one of the most valuable asset for our company, I think that the training showed her that hospitality might be a path of career and that the hard work pays off.” Lihuoy now found herself in new responsibilities from dealing with business partners and oversee staff restaurant. But she was however able to exercise her HoKa skills to grip with new reality of her responsibilities. “If I were to identify one lesson from HoKa that help me to achieve my development, it would be those hospitality knowledge and communication skill,” she described with grin. It also lays an opportunity for her to be able to share her knowledge and experience to other. “I have always shared and must share my knowledge from HoKa to other staff, because I wanted the place [Atelier restaurant] to develop and also for the sake of other staff’s self-development,” Lihuoy stressed out her commitment.

In the future, Lihuoy aspired to become manager and also further pursue her goal to run her own business, because she believed in her skills, experience, and opportunity that provided by her manager. Lastly, Lihuoy also recounted her impression about HoKa, “For me, HoKa is very beneficial project for Kampot, because HoKa has provided both opportunity and knowledge to hospitality workers who did not proceed enough skills, and also help them to obtain higher income.”

The Mekong Inclusive Growth and Innovation Programme (MIGIP):

MIGIP works in the tourism and agriculture sectors in Cambodia. The tourism works focus on developing the tourism sector by strengthening institutions, structures, skills and processes in destination management. To this end, MIGIP analyses tourism flow and then support partners to offer new products and services targeted to specific tourist segments management through tourism working group.