Thailand rallies to ASEAN standards call

TCEB prepares to roll out professional guidelines and training measures approved by Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ tourism ministers at their meeting in Indonesia

TOURISM ministers from the ASEAN group of nations have agreed to establish a common professional standard for business events operators to raise the competitiveness of Southeast Asia as a MICE destination.

Ministers approved the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (ASEAN MRA on TP) for MICE Professionals and Event Professionals during the 26th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) said the approved standards would be implemented later this year.

“ASEAN member countries have long prioritised professional development in tourism,” said Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, TCEB president.

Since its establishment in 2012, the ASEAN MRA on TP has guided ASEAN countries in the development of their tourism workforce in two areas: hotel services and travel services.

“In 2021, the scope of the MRA was expanded to include two new categories: MICE professionals and event Professionals. The move was aimed at fostering cooperation and promoting mobility among ASEAN’s MICE professionals. Each category was assigned a host country whose task was to formulate a set of professional standards specific to that category.’

At the same meeting, ASEAN’s Tourism Ministers also approved the proposal by Indonesia for the category of MICE Professionals which covered 21 job roles.

Chiruit added that with the approval of ASEAN MRA on TP for MICE Professionals and Event Professionals, TCEB has begun promoting the idea of certification for event professionals. For that reason, a forum was organised on March 2 at The Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok, which attracted more than 500 participants and brought to life the newly developed professional standards as private- and public-sector industry players discussed the mechanics of organising an international event and the specialist roles involved.

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To further promote the professional standards in the region, TCEB has launched an “ASEAN Grand Master Training” programme to grow a pool of Master Assessors who can support the new standards’ implementation in all ASEAN countries. The programme will kick off in Bangkok and run until September 2024. A “Thailand Assessor Training” programme will follow suit in 2025 to ensure there are enough qualified assessors for Thailand’s domestic demand.

Thailand’s target is to produce 50 certified Event Professionals by 2026. This is part of a broader goal for ASEAN to produce more than 1,000 certified MICE Professionals and Event Professionals.

“The MICE industry in ASEAN is not only a growing sector but also an economic driver for many member countries. By adopting a unified standard for MICE Professionals and Event Professionals, we will be able to improve mobility for our MICE workforce and further liberalise trade and services as we harmonise learning, instruction and capacity training,” Chiruit said.

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