26/07/2015 22:35 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

AEC’s Opportunities and Challenges for Vietnamese Tourism

When the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) officially take effects by the end of 2015, Vietnam will have to participate in implementing the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professions (MRA-TP) Agreement that brought both opportunities and challenges to Vietnamese tourism.

In 2014, ASEAN received 97.2 million international visitors, an increase of 3% over 2013. Of them, 28.5 million visitors travelled within the bloc. It is expected that the number of international visitors will continue increasing in 2015. 

(Source: The Tourism General Department)

In 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will come into being, and one of its features will be the mutual recognition of professional qualifications within the Community.

The ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professions (MRA-TP) is designed to enable the mobility of employment for skilled tourism labour among member states and to recognise the skills and qualifications of working tourism professionals from different ASEAN countries. This means that qualified tourism professionals can apply for jobs in other ASEAN member countries, and tourism companies can search for qualified personnel from the community to meet their staffing needs.  Therefore, if the qualifications and practical skills of  domestic tourism human resources do not improve, this could lead to the increase of the number of people losing their jobs while ASEAN tourism enterprises will have more opportunities to attract high professional Vietnamese.  It means that if tourism enterprises in the country do not renovate operational mechanism and policies to attract skilled labourers, the brain-drain is almost unavoidable.

At present, the ASEAN tourism sector has built the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals in six labour divisions, including front office, housekeeping, food production, food and beverage service, travel agencies and tour operation with 32 job titles. The Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum is also designed and some countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have agencies to grant tourism professional certificates for employees.

Foreign tourists visit Pothi Somron Pagoda in Can Tho in Southern Vietnam. Photo: Minh Quoc/VNP

Phan Thiet City in Binh Thuan Province is famous for luxurious resorts with beautiful beaches and
diverse tourism products. Photo: Minh Quoc/VNP


Du khách nước ngoài tham quan Di tích Văn Miếu - Quốc Tử Giám ở Hà Nội. Ảnh: Trần Thanh Giang

Foreigners visit the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang/VNP

Chef Ton Nu Thi Ha introduces the dishes of a royal feast to a delegation of reporters from Thailand
who implement a programme on promoting tourism and the cuisine of Hue. Photo: Trong Chinh/VNP

Chef Ton Nu Thi Ha’s course on Hue royal cuisine for foreigners at Tinh Gia Vien. Photo: Trong Chinh/VNP 

To meet the demand for high-quality tourism human resources in Vietnam, the EU funded the environmentally and socially responsible tourism capacity development programme to revise the Vietnam Tourism Occupational Standards (VTOS). Besides inheriting contents of the previous one, the revised VTOS was designed to be suitable to regulations of Vietnam and standardised to be compatible to international and ASEAN profession standards.

These standards are available on the online information website: vtos.esrt.vn in both Vietnamese and English, helping employees, employers, lecturers and students of tourism schools approach, apply to and implement VTOS with the aim of improving the quality of tourism service as well as the effectiveness of tourism training.

It expects that with these standards, dynamics and renovation, Vietnam’s tourism sector will feel confident to integrate in the common playground of ASEAN and  the world.

According to the Tourism General Department, Vietnam has now 1.8 million people working in tourism up from 12,000 in 1990, including 570,000 direct labourers. Each year Vietnam needs nearly 40,000 employees while the number of tourism graduates is 15,000/year, over 12% of them are college and university graduates.