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The Hanoitimes – The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) officially came into being on December 31, opening up opportunities for more intensive cooperation in various areas among member countries.
According to Foreign Investment Agency (Ministry of Planning and Investment), real estate is the field that ASEAN investors focus on in Vietnam market, even when the AEC has not taken effect yet. Statistics in the first half of 2015 shows that ASEAN investors invest 54.6 billions USD into several sectors in Vietnam, in which 30% (around 16.6 billions USD) is for real estate. Beside constructing office buildings in the big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, investors are now interested in building hotels, resorts and tourism sites in the central and southern provinces such as Da Nang and Phu Quoc, where are popularly known as tourism hotspots in Vietnam. This will make a significant contribution to the Vietnam tourism, improving the quality of facilities and infrastructures.
Vietnam is one of the countries that has been positively participated in ASEAN’s activities and proactively contributed to the preparation of AEC. Although Vietnam’s membership in ASEAN helps the country’s economy and fastens its integration into the world economy; it is undeniable that the integration of ACE brings opportunities to Vietnam.
With the fortunately natural resources of 3,300km of coastline and beautiful beaches as well as the unique intangible cultural heritages, Vietnam has always been a popular destination for travellers and tourists around the world. The integration of AEC welcomes more visitors from ASEAN to Vietnam, as well as opening more potential markets for Vietnam tourism.
One of the key elements of AEC is the mutual recognition of professional qualifications within the member states. In tourism sector, the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP) is one of the initiatives designed to empower the mobility of employment for qualified tourism labor in the intra-region. ASEAN is now in the final stage to apply MRA-TP in the early of 2016.
A report released by the Institute for Tourism Development Research (ITDR) shows that with an average growth rate of 6.2% during 2011-2015, Vietnam’s tourism sector will need an estimated 620,000 workers (tour guides, receptionists and others) by the end of 2015. The figure is expected to climb to 870,000 in 2020.
Experts said the tourism industry’s personnel demand is two to three times higher than that of other key sectors such as education, health care and finance.
The AEC will allow the free flow of labour among ASEAN countries in eight sectors, including tourism, which affords both opportunities and challenges to employment.