Asean forms regional secretariat to oversee tourism accord
Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The 10-member states of the Association of  South East Asian Nations which include the Philippines  is establishing a regional secretariat to oversee and facilitate the full implementation of the Asean mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) on tourism professionals.

The MRA, signed by the Asean member countries in November 2012, aims to facilitate the mobility of employment for skilled tourism labor within the region,  the exchange of information on best practices in competency-based education and training for tourism professionals, as well as provide opportunities for cooperation and capacity building.

It was in response to the booming tourism demand in the region.

At present, there are 32 work positions covered under the MRA, ranging from housekeeping, front office, food and beverage services, and food production for hospitality, to travel agencies and tour operator for tourism enterprises, among others.

Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said the Asean tourism agreement would raise the bar of the tourism profession.

“We get to exchange information on best practices in competency-based education and training of our workforce. More doors of opportunities for cooperation and capacity building across ASEAN member states are now opulently wide,” Jimenez said.

Based on the January 2014 progress report delivered during the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Kuching, Malaysia, measures to step up competitiveness of the tourism workforce through the MRA are 75-percent completed, including improvement in connectivity via the open skies policy; a more simplified visa procedure through the ASEAN common visa; readiness for crisis and climate change; quality tourism through the standards on hotel, homestay, public toilet, spa service, tourism safety and security; and sustainable tourist destinations and products.

The Asean tourism agreement underlines cooperation of member states in facilitating travel into and within Asean, further cooperation in the tourism industry among ASEAN member states in order to improve efficiency and competitiveness, less restrictions on trade in tourism and travel services among member states and the development and promotion of Asean as a single tourism destination with world-class standards, facilities, and attractions.

 

ASEAN COOPERATION JIMENEZ JIMENEZ JR. KUCHING MEMBER SOUTH EAST ASIAN NATIONS STATES TOURISM TOURISM FORUM TOURISM SECRETARY RAMON R
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