The AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) by the end of next year is bringing together ASEAN countries to create a European Union-esque economic region. Stated goals are the free flow of goods, services, investment, capital, skilled labor and several other initiatives meant to bring the region up in standard and make it stronger in size.
What do I think will impact hospitality the most? The free flow of skilled labor.
Here is what I think labor mobility might mean for Southeast Asia’s hospitality industry:
- Fantastic workers getting paid poorly in poor countries like Cambodia are going to try to migrate to other countries like Thailand or Singapore where their English skills, great smiles and willingness to work hard will be appreciated.
- Supervisors and managers will be nearly impossible to retain in low-wage countries.
- No one with skills will want to work in these poor countries, and those like Laos, which are still getting up on their feet, will struggle to do so.
- Hotels will need to start paying more and finding other incentives to retain their great employees.
- Richer, more developed countries will displace higher-paid employees with lower-wage workers from other countries.
- That “sense of destination” or “local touch” will be provided by someone from, well, another destination.
- “Southeast Asian hospitality” may become a thing.
The list goes on. I’d be interested in knowing what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments.