Ready for ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals

9:52:01 AM | 11/5/2015

Vietnam tourism industry is currently trying to prepare for ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA - TP).
Accordingly, by the end of 2015, Vietnam will officially join the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Besides the ASEAN Security Community and Political and Cultural Community, the AEC is considered the most important pillar. The development of the AEC will be the premise to promote the implementation of the remaining two pillars. The AEC will be a turning point marking the comprehensive integration of the economies of Southeast Asia, creating a potential common market with more than 600 million people and GDP of over US$2 trillion.
To promote the formation of the AEC, the ASEAN member countries focus on liberalisation of three major areas: goods and service trading, investment and finance, and labour. ASEAN has signed eight agreements on the MRA- TP to facilitate migration of skilled labour in the region, thereby promoting investment and trade. Accordingly, this allows the certification of skilled labour provided by the respective authorities in one country to be recognised by the other member countries in the region.
According to Mr Tran Phu Cuong, Deputy Director International Cooperation Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), after forming a set of vocational standards and training curriculum for most labour-intensive tourist professions of ASEAN like reception, room services, restaurant catering, food processing, tourism and travel agents, ASEAN has also established the ASEAN Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee to implement MRA-TP. Currently, ASEAN is urgently finishing elements to have the MRA-TP formally adopted in early 2016. The procedures include: an establishment of the regional secretariat to implement MRA- TP; staff training courses, formation of ASEAN assessors at different levels of each member country; development of tool kits for training and evaluation of six vocational standards; an establishment of the Tourism Council and the Evaluation and Vocational Certification Council in each country; comparison of standards of national tourism profession, training, qualification system, and national certification through ASEAN's reference system to recognize the equivalence of professional skills of tourism workers in the region; and a formation of registration and software system to assess the tourism labour capacity on the basis of diplomas and certificates.
According to Mr Tran Phu Cuong, Vietnam has performed full responsibility as a member. Vietnam has sent a diplomatic note to the ASEAN Secretary-General to inform that the Vietnam Tourism Certification Board has been assigned to perform activities of the Tourism Council and Evaluation and Vocational Certification Council as required by the MRA-TP. Also, Vietnam has signed the Agreement establishing the regional secretariat to implement the MRA-TP. The tourism industry has nominated 23 people to attend training programmes organised by ASEAN to develop a team of trainers of ASEAN and assessors of the staffs in the chambers, food processing, reception and restaurant catering fields, and to construct and publicize the training documentation and evaluation on tourism workers based on the job standards and training curriculum on tourism of the ASEAN. At the same time, Vietnam has built and developed a system of national standards with 8 national professional standards and in the process of converting 10 tourism vocational standards under the VTOS by the European Union to the national standards to meet the service standards for the general vocational standards of ASEAN and other countries in the region; besides, Vietnam will organise information sessions to raise awareness of the implementation of the MRA-TP and complete the integration schemes enhancing integration in the ASEAN Economic Community.
According to Mr Ha Van Sieu, Deputy General Director of VNAT, the development of human resources through the implementation of the MRA-TP is considered one of the most important elements of the tourism industry in general and of the AEC in particular, because human resources play such a key role in tourism products, as well as to contribute to the development of a community. The MRA-TP opens many opportunities while also posing challenges to Vietnam tourism. To take advantage of the benefits of the MRA-TP and the integration of ASEAN tourism, all stakeholders of tourism, including managers, businesses and employees, must endeavour to enhance competitiveness and implement policies to attract and retain talent in the stronger competitive environment of ASEAN.
Nguyen Thanh