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ASEAN (The Association of South East Asian Nations)

Tourism has been an important sector in ASEAN due to its contribution to the GDP and provision of employment at many levels. Therefore, closer cooperation among member states is of the utmost importance. With international arrivals into the ASEAN region increasing over time, ASEAN has an ongoing need to develop both infrastructure and labour mobility to support the sector's development. This needs to be addressed quickly as ASEAN is competing with the other parts of world in attracting international visitors.

Hence there has been a need to develop a common set of standards to enable a freer flow of labour mobility and trade in the region. This has culminated in a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)  (signed by all member states)  which has allowed a cross recognition of agreed professional training and standards.

As part of the Mutual Recognition Agreement adopted by the ASEAN Tourism Ministers (ATM) in 2009 and the strategic measures outlined in the AEC Blueprint 2025, there is a need to commit to and further develop the tourism sector. In particular to deal with the problems of low employability, low skills and weak synergy with Industry; the following objectives were identified:

- Developing capacity in higher end skills;
- Combining government investment with private sector efficiency;
- Developing a recognised assessment and certification system;
- Developing a skills database / inventory;
- Creating a portal where professionals and industry can interact using a job/skill matching platform.

The Challenge

The requirement that ASEAN needed to fulfil was to set common training standards across the member states, provide a tool to certify the students' training by recognised assessors and then marry up these students to employment vacancies advertised by industry within the same facility.

In particular the following objectives were identified:

- Strengthen the Tourism sector
- Facilitate the mobility of tourism professionals
- Provide a jobs matching & platform
- Facilitate the registration of ASEAN Tourism Professionals, Trainers, Assessors & education and training institutions
- Disseminate details of certified tourism professionals
- Maintain records and information on Tourism Professionals
- Generate revenue for the Regional Secretariat

The Solution

NRC worked with the ASEAN Secretariat to develop the ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System (ATPRS) to facilitate the mobility of certified ASEAN Tourism Professionals across the ASEAN Member States.

This involved detailed analysis and stakeholder management, undertaken with all 10 member states , including undertaking regional workshops, leading to agreement of the requirements prior to the development of the system itself

NRC then went on to develop an online portal to serve as a key job-matching platform between the industry and qualified ASEAN Tourism Professionals.

The Portal, acts as a central point to:

- Register students, their profiles, qualifications and manage certifications
- Maintain records and information on professionals, including those hired by the industry (employer);
- Provide a platform for matchmaking between professionals and Industry (potential employer);
- Registration of certified Trainers and Assessors;
- Registration of education and training institutions
- Pool information on the implementation of MRA with a wide range of online resources, eLearning
- Be a repository of learning toolboxes and  qualifications

As well as the system itself, NRC also developed a support and sustainability plan to manage the system in production


Tourism professionals now benefit through improved job prospects, salary, a professional pathway, and intra-regional opportunities etc. Industry now benefit through an increased cadre of quality, trained staff, improving the consistency and quality of service, and customer experience. Tourism schools in member states benefit through higher graduate employment rates of qualified, accredited and certified tourism professionals, in demand by industry.

In addition industry has welcomed this initiative as it means they can advertise for roles for which they can specify a minimum level of certification. In addition ASEAN will be able to charge industry for this service.