Vietnam will benefit from the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement on Tourism Professionals for (MRA-TP) once it officially takes effect in 2015.

The agreement facilitates the free movement and employment of qualified and certified personnel between the bloc’s member states. This means that a Vietnamese worker will be allowed to work in other ASEAN countries and Vietnam is able to attract skilled workers in the region to fill the shortage in the local tourism sector.

Through the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (ESRT), experts from the union have helped Vietnam build the Vietnam Tourism Occupational Skills Standard (VTOS) system, an important element for Vietnam’s tourism sector be recognised in accordance with MRA-TP’s regulations.

The system will also assist travel agencies in providing requisite skills to their staff in order to meet MRA-TP’s rules.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), with support from the ESRT, has designed a handbook to guide the implementation of the MRA in the region. The handbook was adopted by ASEAN tourism ministers at their meeting in Laos in mid-January 2013 and has been provided to all member nations.

MRA-TP is considered as an important factor to improve the tourism sector’s standards as well as enhance professional ability of labour forces working in the sector in ASEAN member countries.

Vietnamese working in the tourism sector who are awarded a VTOS certificate will be recognised if their skills also meet the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP).-VNA