Passenger Controls training delivered despite COVID-19 challenges

26 August 2020

The WCO Asia/Pacific Security Project has adapted its training approach to successfully deliver four national Passenger Controls training courses to WCO Member Customs administrations in the Asia/Pacific region.  The Government of Japan provided financial support for the training, which was originally scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2020.

The first training course was conducted in Cambodia in March 2020, with 21 Customs officials taking part in the five-day course at the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) Headquarters in Phnom Penh. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the remaining three workshops scheduled for Myanmar, Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic were rescheduled for late July/early August 2020.  

Modified versions of the course, suitable for virtual delivery, were developed.  The changes included the removal of practical elements such as ‘hands-on’ demonstrations, role plays and airport exercises delivered during ‘face-to-face’ training.  Additional videos, including a live demonstration of a baggage search, were included to compensate to some extent for the removal of the practical elements.

The Myanmar training was delivered to 10 Customs Department officials at Customs Headquarters in Yangon.  The number of participants was limited due to social distancing requirements.  The training for Vietnam Customs was conducted virtually, as a webinar, with 50 Customs officials participating in the training from their work locations throughout Vietnam, including Khanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, Kien Giang, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Customs Headquarters in Hanoi.  The final training course given was for the Lao Customs Department, with 18 officers joining the training from Customs Headquarters in Vientiane. 

The feedback received both from the training participants and from senior officials of the four Member Customs administrations was very positive.  In particular, they recognized the extensive knowledge and experience added by the participation of Canada Border Services Agency and Australian Border Force officials who co-facilitated the training. 

As well as increasing the skills and knowledge of Customs officers in the four countries, the training provided the relevant Customs administrations’ management with insights into best practice approaches towards Passenger Controls used in other Customs administrations.


For further information on the WCO’s Passenger Controls initiatives, please contact