Travel and tourism sector plays an important role in ASEAN with more than 98 million visitors to the region in 20141 . It is estimated that tourism directly accounts for 4.6% of ASEAN GDP or 10.9% when all indirect contributions are taken into account2 . The sector also directly employs 9.3 people or 3.2% of total employment.
The Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on tourism professionals is a forward-looking initiative which aims to facilitate mobility of employment for skilled labour within each ASEAN Member State. The key to this arrangement is recognition of skills and qualifications of working tourism professionals from different ASEAN countries. The ASEAN MRA on tourism professionals provides guidance and draws on the experience and expertise available through the development of other MRAs internationally. Under this MRA, countries in the region would be able to mutually recognise each other’s qualifications which will encourage a free and open market for tourism labour across the region and boost the competitiveness of the tourism sector, whilst at the same time attracting needed talent to meet local skills shortages. In maintaining quality assurance of the certified processionals, an ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System (ATPRS) is being developed to facilitate the registration process of those workers possessing the ASEAN certificates so as to well document all necessary information.
Implementation of the MRA on tourism professionals will significantly benefit the tourism sector of the region. With the common regional reference system, professionals of different ASEAN Member States will be trained with the same set of training manuals to achieve the same standard and competency qualifications and skills, and then certified and recognised with a centralised system.
1 ASEAN Statistics: http://www.asean.org/resources/2012-02-10-08-47-55/asean-statistics 2 World Economic Forum: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TTCR_ASEAN_Report_2012.pdf
2 World Economic Forum: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TTCR_ASEAN_Report_2012.pdf