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Skills and the hospitality sector in a transition economy: the case of front office employment in Kyrgyzstan

Baum, T. (2007) Skills and the hospitality sector in a transition economy: the case of front office employment in Kyrgyzstan. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 12 (2). pp. 89-102. ISSN 1094-1665

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Abstract

Notwithstanding the globalization of services and the migration of some service providers (call centres, financial processing) to regions of low-cost labour coupled with high levels of educational attainment, there are arguments that the skills which employees bring to the workplace in executing common tasks are substantially influenced by the economic, political and cultural context of the location where they are used. This paper is concerned with the skills set and training background of one set of hospitality workers, those in the front office, located within the transition economy of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic. This paper reports the findings of a survey of front office workers working in the only three international standard hotels in Kyrgyzstan, all located in the capital city of Bishkek. The findings point to relatively high levels of educational attainment among respondents and a level of commitment to a long-term career in the hotel sector, both of which contrast sharply with the situation to be found in Western Europe. The study also notes the virtual absence of in-service training opportunities for service workers in this area away from the workplace.