Training tourism professionals is vital for boosting the sector, and many have already benefited from such training, stated Minister of Tourism Thong Khon.

Speaking at an August 14 meeting, Khon discussed the successes of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP).

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the MRA-TP achieved notable results nationally and within the ASEAN framework,” he remarked.

Khon further highlighted the ministry’s efforts, saying it has spearheaded preparations for the ASEAN Spa Standard, developed guidelines for hygiene and safety and the ASEAN tourism community.

He added that they contributed to creating travel safety stamps for ASEAN and laid the groundwork for high school technical programmes in tourism.

“Our experience in infrastructure and skills training will be implemented at the National Vocational School in Tourism. This school, currently under construction in partnership with the French Development Agency, is set to open during the seventh-mandate government,” Khon shared.

Khon highlighted the importance of skilled professionals in advancing the tourism sector, saying that without them, growth would stagnate.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), underscored the need for skills development, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 disruptions.

“After Covid-19, the tourism ministry and our association teamed up to run multiple training sessions for tour operators. This training, especially in hospitality, equips them for the eventual return of both global and Cambodian tourism to normalcy,” Sivlin noted.

The ministry, in collaboration with other​ relevant parties, has achieved significant training milestones. The Swiss-funded Hospitality Kampuchea (HoKa) project has trained over 3,000 individuals, including Cambodian youth and tourism business owners across 10 provinces.

As tourism continues to play a vital role in economies within the ASEAN region, member countries have now recognised 70 distinct tourist professional skills, as per the Department of International Cooperation and ASEAN tourism ministers.

As Cambodia gears up for a post-pandemic world, the emphasis on training and the development of tourism professionals remains at the forefront of the ministry’s mission. Their work, undeniably, is setting the foundation for a more robust and resilient tourism sector.