Pictured above: Mr. Sounh Manivong, Director General of the Tourism Development Department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Lao PDR; Chairman of the ASEAN Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee.
The Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals, as one of the key ASEAN tourism initiatives to pave the way for and support the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 (AEC) through facilitating mobility of tourism skilled workers, is underway to fully become a reality.
According to ASEAN Tourism Performance 2013, ASEAN showed a strong growth with an average increase of 10.9% per annum during 2009 – 2013.
To ensure the sustainability of this growth, ASEAN’s appeal has to be matched by outstanding quality of services provided by the tourism sector within the region. It therefore should become the norm to warrant tourist satisfaction by deploying highly competent hospitality and tourism workers. Mutual Recognition of certified qualifications of tourism professionals across the ten Member States is therefore a remarkable milestone for such purpose.
The MRA will facilitate the mobility of skilled tourism labour within the region, by recognizing skills and qualifications of working tourism professionals from different ASEAN countries using regional references, including ASEAN Common Competency Standard on Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP), Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum and 242 toolboxes.
National certification based on ACCSTP obtained in one member state will automatically be recognized by any other ASEAN member state. Henceforth, it entitles a tourism professional to find a job and enter that member state’s tourism working force through ASEAN’s registration, once the MRA being fully integrated in 2015.
“The MRA for Tourism Professionals would be a tool that would make AEC for the tourism sector reality. Region’s facilitation of tourism skilled workers would benefit ASEAN’s tourism industry by enhancing their competitiveness through improved quality of services and high quality labour”, said Mr. Sounh Manivong, Chairman of the ASEAN Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee and Director General of the Tourism Development Department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR.
32 occupations or job titles are covered under the MRA, ranging from housekeeping and front office to food and beverages and food production services for the hospitality sector, and from travel agent to tour operator for the tourism and travel sector.
Currently, the region’s series of trainings for Trainers and Assessors for Front Office, Food and Beverage Services and Food Production are being organized in Bali, Manila and Bangkok respectively, to be completed this year, while the trainings for ASEAN’s Housekeeping trainers and assessors was carried out in 2012.
The ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System and the Regional Secretariat are being established and targeted to be completed in 2015 in time for the establishment of AEC.
*For more details on the ASEAN MRA for Tourism Professionals a handbook is available, to be downloaded at http://www.aseantourism.travel/documents/asean-tourism-documents .