Thailand is striving to develop the quality of Thai tourism personnel up to ASEAN standards, in preparation for the soon-to-be ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports Kajorn Weerajai said that, in the 2015 fiscal year, a target has been set to develop 20,000 Thai tourism professionals in 32 job titles under six divisions.
ASEAN Member States have signed the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals, which is one of the key ASEAN tourism initiatives to support the establishment of AEC in late 2015. The MRA comprises 32 job titles under six divisions – housekeeping, front office, food production, food and beverage services, travel consultants and tour operators.
Thailand has provided skill training for tourism personnel under the MRA on ASEAN Tourism Professionals, which aims to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals within ASEAN, in accordance with competence-based tourism qualifications and certificates.
According to the Deputy Permanent Secretary, in the 2015 fiscal year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports focuses on developing members of workforce in the housekeeping division. A survey, conducted by the ASEAN Hotels & Restaurant Association, shows that ASEAN is experiencing a great shortage of personnel in housekeeping. Therefore, Thailand emphasizes skill development in this field to ease the shortage.
The Ministry will also discuss with the Tourism Council of Thailand the validity period of ASEAN certificates, to be issued for each filed of tourism professions. Results of the discussion will be submitted to an ASEAN tourism forum for further ASEAN commitment and agreement on the issue.
Moreover, Thailand will seek to propose that it be allowed to assess the quality of ASEAN tourism personnel in the 32 job titles. The move will show that the country has high-skilled tourism workers and this will contribute to the Thai tourism industry.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary believed that, in the future, ASEAN would discuss salary standardization for tourism professionals in the 32 job titles. This will help to prevent a shortage of personnel resulting from the movement of workers to the countries that offer higher salaries.
AEC is expected to play an important role in promoting ASEAN tourism because of the potential of the regional market of 650 million people.