Competitions to Show Talent at Hospitality Exposition

Workers in Cambodia’s service sector, whose ranks have ballooned over the past year, will be put to the test next month as Cambodia’s Tourism Federation hosts a range of competitions at the Camfood Camhotel 2014 trade show in Phnom Penh.

At a press conference Monday, the federation appealed for workers of every grade and profession in the hospitality sector, from 5-star hotels to beer gardens, to show off their skills at the two-day expo, which will feature 250 exhibitors and attract thousands of buyers.

The 10 competitions will feature cooking, cocktail mixing, table setting and bed making.

The number of staff in the service sector has doubled from 50,000 last year to 100,000 this year as more hotels, casinos and restaurants have opened to cater to a quickly rising number of tourists, said Pap Sambo, president of Cambodia Tourism Service Workers Federation.

“It’s very good for Cambodian staff such as chefs to showcase their ability and to show that they can compete with foreign staff,” he said.

As Cambodia has looked to expand its tourist industry beyond the iconic temples in Siem Reap, the sector has faced a shortage of skilled workers, with foreign staff often being hired to fill the holes in the country’s workforce, particularly in higher skilled and better-paid positions.

Luu Meng, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association, said that he hopes the competitions will inspire a young generation, and show their parents that a career in the service industry can be fruitful.

“This will help address the labor shortage problem and improve standards of service in the industry when people are more interested in becoming skilled,” he said.

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