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Speech H.E Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and the Chairman of National Committee for Tourism

H.E Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and the Chairman of National Committee for Tourism Professionals at the Closing of 1st Pilot Project on Assessment of Tourism Professionals within the Framework of Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) March 25, 2015 at Tourism and Hospitality School of PSE

- Excellencies, Lok Chumteav, the Secretary of State, Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Tourism
- Excellencies, the members of National Committee for Tourism Professionals
- Mr. Eddy Krismedi, Representative of the ASEAN Secretariat
- Ladies and gentlemen, the Representatives of ASEAN Countries, the Management of PSE Tourism and Hospitality School, representatives of universities for Tourism Professional Traning, and students

First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and the National Committee for Tourism Professionals and myself, I have the great pleasure to be here in the important closing of the Pilot Project for students undertaking the training on ASEAN Standard of House-keeping Skill.

I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen for taking tight schedule to participate in this significant function, particularly my profound thanks also go to Mr. Eddy Krismedi, the representative of ASEAN Secretariat and Mr. Ian Nicolson, the representative of ASEAN experts for taking valuable times to be here in witness whereof the ASEAN spirit in this gracious occasion. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

Cambodia, under the sound and brilliant leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, enjoys complete peace, political stability, and social and public order, deemed as a foundation for development in all sectors. Above all, it contributes to poverty reduction and maintains the average economic growth of 7.7% year-on-year. Along with the socio-economic development, the Royal Government of Cambodia has paid greater attention in implementing the action plan as stipulated in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2015. As such, in accordance with the ASEAN’s Scorecard, Cambodia ranks the 3rd after Singapore and Malaysia based on the readiness performance for ASEAN Economic Community. 

In keeping with the above-mentioned great performance of the government, the Ministry of Tourism has pushed ahead tourism development in all aspects in order to accomplish the vision of Cambodia tourism development as “culture and nature tourism” with high attractiveness and competiveness so as to satisfy national and international tourists following the implementation of Tourism Development Strategic Plan 2012-2020 in a responsible and sustainable manner so as to ensure inclusive growth. 

The above development principles have responded to the 3rd Stage Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the 5th Mandate of the National Assembly, focusing on growth, labor, equity and effectiveness. In this regard, Cambodia tourism plays significant role as one of the four priority sectors contributing to socio-economic growth through job creation, investment, poverty reduction as well as preservation and conservation of cultural and natural heritages. 

- Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

Along with the principles of sustainable and responsible tourism development via concise vision, Cambodia tourism have made remarkable growth year-on-year. In particular, in 2014 Cambodia received 4.5 million international tourists, an increase of 7% compared to 2013, bringing revenue of approximately 3 billion US dollars injected into the national economy and creating around 600,000 jobs. It is projected to receive around 5 million international tourists and 7.5-8 million international tourists in 2015 and 2020, respectively. Whereby in 2020 tourism will create approximately 1 million direct jobs and generate around 5 billion US dollars. 

In this particular moment, I wish to draw your attention on the current good news declared March 24, 2015 by Trip Advisor that Siem Reap-Angkor has been nominated in rank No. 1 in Asia and No. 2 in the world for the Top 2015 Travelers’ Choice Destination 2015, based on the global on-line votes by international tourists. This award will add up international tourists to Cambodia. 

In order to achieve this, the Ministry of Tourism has been continuing to implement the tourism product diversification strategy and upgrade service quality in collaboration with private sectors as well as national and internatioanl stakeholders. 

Certainly, referring to the service quality improvement, the Ministry of Tourism has focused on Cambodian and ASEAN standards, namely ASEAN Green Hotel Standard, ASEAN Homestay Standard, ASEAN Community – Based Standard, ASEAN Spa and Wellness Standard, Public Toilet Standard, and ASEAN Tourist Clean City Standard, in which Cambodia is the lead country. 

While undertaking implementation of various ASEAN Standard, the Ministry of Tourism has priorize human resource and skill development such as tour guides, massage service provider, service experts at restaurant, hotel service and travel service, aiming at improving service quality and proper hospitality in line with the campaign “Clean City, Clean Resort, Good Service and Best Hospitality”. 

In keeping with the spirit of ASEAN economic integration to be launched at the end of 2015, Ministry of Tourism has paid greater attention in implementing the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals, whereby the National Committee for Tourism Professionals as the focal point to undertake to implement this MRA. 

- Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

The MRA agreement aims at facilitating the mobility of ASEAN tourism professionals to qualified and recognized by the 10 ASEAN member states on the 32 skills, in hotel and travel services. This MRA agreement will contribute to minimizing the capacity gap among regional tourism professionals via implementation of the overall minimize standard. 

To accomplish the aim of MRA, the Secretariat of National Committee for Tourism Professionals, located at the Ministry of Tourism, has endeavored in preparing national-level standard , legal framework, assisting mechanism and other obligations in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat located in Jakarta, Indonesia, together with national and international organizations, private sectors and stakeholders. 

So far, the National Committee for Tourism Professional has accomplished tremendous achievements, remarkably the establishment of capacity standard of Cambodia tourism professional in hotel and travel services, training of focal trainers in tourism in numerous hotels in Cambodia. Along with this, the National Committee for Tourism Professional has prepared legal documents, mechanism and procedure in managing the training quality and assessment by means of launching the ASEAN training curriculum successfully in various tourism professional training schools. 

This is the outstanding achievement and the initial outcomes for the implementation of the MRA agreement within Cambodia and region via collaboration with Cambodia, ASEAN Secretariat and other ASEAN member countries in preparing the 1st Pilot Project on Tourism Professional Training at PSE School, together with favorable endeavors of ASEAN. Taking this opportunity, I wish to extend my thanks to Mr. Eddy Krismedi and ASEAN members for supporting Cambodia and choosing Cambodia as the lead country for the MRA implementation. In fact, Cambodia will be the first country for training the ASEAN tourism professionals for ASEAN labor mobility in accordance with the MRA. This milestone achievement showcases not only the best efforts of the PSE and the Ministry of Tourism but also the good collaboration between relevant institutions in Cambodia in fostering the ASEAN tourism professional training in Cambodia, whereas it remains the challenges of some member countries. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

Along with these achievements, there remain various challenges needed to be tackled. Particularly, only 13% staffs serving in tourism sectors have undertaken training course in tourism professional training since the training school is not sufficient yet. 

Responding the insufficient state, with approval from the Royal Government, the Ministry of Tourism has been collaborating with French Development Agency (AFD) in establishing two tourism professional training schools in Phnom Penh and Sihanouk province. The Ministry of Tourism will encourage investment on tourism professional training school to private sector. 

In addition, the Ministry of Tourism has issued the directive No. 007 D., dated March 3, 2015 on Training and Strengthening Capacity of Staff working in hotel service in tourism sector”. In order to encourage the private sector to take the training course in compliance with national legal mechanism and ASEAN, aiming at preparing the staff assessment to be awarded with certificate or certification of national and ASEAN levels, ensuring and strengthening skills in tourism which is an input contributing to service quality strengthening more properly. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

Before closing, I would hereby appeal for participation of tourism professional training schools to continue its capacity training program in compliance with minimize standard of ASEAN, whereby the Ministry of Tourism and National Committee for Tourism Professional are readily to technically support this. Moreover, I wish to assure the tourism private sector shall commence in-house training for the skills and hospitality in collaboration with the training schools, Ministry of Tourism and National Committee for Tourism Professional, provincial tourism department, to recognize the training programs. Best service for you bmw repair las vegas near me repair of you car , fast and good price  

Once again, I wish to highlight my appreciation for the management of PSE school for collaboratively prepare and implement ASEAN training curriculum sucessfully. I hope that PSE school will committ to further continue actively. I also renew my thanks to Mr. Eddy Krismedi and Mr. Ian Nicolson and the representatives of ASEAN member countries for involving in the three-day joint assessment which truly represent the joint spirit of ASEAN MRA implementation. 

Last but not least, may I wish you all the four Buddish blessings: longevity, beauty, peace and strength. 

I hereby the declare the sucessful closing of 1st Pilot Project on Assessment of Tourism Professionals within the Framework of Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), onwards. 

Thank you!