An ASEAN Regional Secretariat to Watch over Professionals’ Mobility in Tourism Field

All the ten ASEAN tourism ministers have come together to sign an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat, to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The Secretariat will be located in Jakarta and will commence operations in 2016.

Signed originally by ASEAN Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate the mobility of tourism professionals within the region. It was also perceived by ASEAN NTOs then that the MRA would require a Regional Secretariat, which would promote and support its implementation activities.

Commenting on the agreement, Ong Hong Peng, Secretary General, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia declared: “The establishment of a Regional Secretariat for the implementation of ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP) marks a significant milestone of tourism development for ASEAN. Moving forward, Malaysia, as the Chairman of the ASEAN Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the ASEAN MRA-TP.”

Strategic actions for the Secretariat will include providing and facilitating training programmes at the regional level to develop a pool of ASEAN master trainers and assessors. It will be the Secretariat’s responsibility to conduct region’s marketing and promotional activities, including aiding the exchange of information among the member states.

It will also support the convening of international, regional and national events regarding the implementation of the MRA and serve as the communications centre for all stakeholders. It will benchmark the implementation of the MRA between the member states through the ASEAN Tourism Qualification Equivalent Matrix (ATQEM) while maintaining and updating both the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP) as well as the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum (CATC) and the Regional Qualification Framework and Skills Recognition System (RQFSRS.)

Ministry of Tourism Indonesia will host the office of Regional Secretariat in Jakarta. Said Arief Yahya, Tourism Minister, Republic of Indonesia: “The Regional Secretariat will oversee professionals in the field of tourism with recognition and equivalency certificates of competency among ASEAN countries, through an online system called ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System (ATPRS.) We hope that this system and mechanism can provide vast opportunity to the professional work force to improve and enhance their capabilities and career, according to the objective of the implementation of the MRA on tourism professionals.”

The Secretariat’s key role will be to develop and maintain a registry of job opportunities on the ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System, while facilitating job-matching between tourism professionals and prospective employers.