According to UNWTO, the number of international tourists will reach 1.4 billion in 2020 and 1.8 billion in 2030. Internally, tourism development in ASEAN is still experiencing obstacles, mainly related to development of the industry, infrastructure and accessibility, institutional strengthening, investment, and development of tourism resources. Connectivity between ASEAN country members and the people is believed to be the key to promoting greater competitiveness, inclusivity, and a sense of community. Connectivity, which consists of physical relations (for example, transportation and ICT), institutional (such as trade and services), and people-to-people ties (such as education, culture, and tourism), is fundamental in achieving the pillars of economic, political-security, and socio-cultural aspects of an integrated ASEAN Community.
These new dynamics in the tourism and hospitality workforce require both employers and employees to be adaptable, resilient, and proactive in responding to emerging challenges and opportunities, especially for a post pandemic market. Embracing technology, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, prioritizing employee well-being, and promoting sustainable practices are the critical factors that the stakeholders must practice in the contemporary scenario. While traditional hospitality skills such as customer service, language proficiency, and interpersonal skills remain important, there is an increasing demand for digital literacy, data analysis, social media marketing, and technology proficiency. As sustainability concerns continue to grow, there is a rising demand for sustainable practices within the tourism and hospitality workforce. Employees are expected to be knowledgeable about environmental conservation, social responsibility, and ethical practices. Skills related to sustainable tourism, eco-friendly operations, and community engagement are increasingly sought after.