The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.
The Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals
The Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP) was adopted by the ASEAN Tourism Ministers (ATM) as a key ASEAN tourism initiative to support the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015. The MRA-TP is an arrangement among ASEAN countries designed to facilitate the free movement and employment of qualified and certified ASEAN Tourism Professionals (ATPs) under the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum (CATC) between ASEAN Member States. Three key resources underpin the MRA framework: the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP), the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum (CATC), and the Regional Qualifications Framework and Skills Recognition System (RQFSRS).
Regional Secretariat for the Implementation of the MRA on Tourism Professional
The Regional Secretariat for the Implementation of the MRA-TP was established through an agreement signed by all ASEAN Tourism Ministers on 30 December 2015. The Regional Secretariat, stationed in Jakarta, Indonesia, has the following functions: (1) To enhance awareness and provide capacity building on the implementation of the MRA TP including marketing and promotion of the services offered by the Secretariat; (2) To develop, maintain and update the ATPRS including its database management and resources for implementation of the MRA; (3) To formulate, update and recommend the necessary mechanism including certification and assessment to enable the smooth implementation of the MRA-TP; (4) To ensure effective and efficient use of human, financial and capital resources of the Secretariat; and (5) To perform such other functions and responsibilities that may be assigned to it by the Governing Council. The Agreement is available at the attachment.
The ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System (ATPRS)
The adoption of the MRA-TP signified a major commitment of the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) to further strengthen the tourism sector, particularly in facilitating the mobility of tourism professionals. This is achieved through a system called the ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System (ATPRS), which is a web-based facility, designed to register and disseminate details of certified ASEAN Tourism Professionals (ATPs). As a key component of the MRA-TP, the ATPRS serves as a job-matching platform between industry and ATPs across ASEAN. It is important to note that the recognition of skilled labour is voluntary and governed by each ASEAN Member State's domestic regulations, laws, and policies. This includes visa, employment, and working permit requirements.