At the 48th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations, recently held in Brunei with the participation of 100 delegates who are leaders and officials of ASEAN national tourism organizations, the ASEAN Secretariat and international tourism organizations inside and outside ASEAN, Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu proposed a theme for the ATF 2019 as “ASEAN – the Power of One”.
Mr Sieu spoke of his appreciation for the cooperation efficiency and tourism growth of regional countries last year and into the first half of this year. The ASEAN tourism cooperation committees have launched diverse activities, especially in tourism investment and promotion, such as the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP) and human resource training and sustainable development, within the framework of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025.
He stressed the importance of setting a development orientation for ASEAN as a single destination, which will contribute to the prosperous, sustainable and comprehensive development of ASEAN in the future.
The theme of the ATF sets ASEAN cooperation on the path towards realising “One Vision, One Identity, One community”, Sieu explained, adding that it demonstrates the meaning of the common power and beauty of the 10 ASEAN countries when they cooperate, as well as the individual beauty of each nation towards a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive development goal.
A wide range of activities will be held as part of the forum, such as meetings of tourism ministers and the leaders of national tourism organizations, and an ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX). Particularly, the ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ meeting with partner countries will focus discussions on improving competitive capacity, standardization, human resource development and sustainable and inclusive tourism development.
TRAVEX is expected to draw 450 pavilions and around 1,500 visitors. It is viewed as an annual professional tourism event, which has an enormous influence on ASEAN and Asia.
The event is hopefully to provide domestic businesses with trade opportunities, connect local tourism programs and products, and enhance tourism integration, investment and trade.
This is the second time for the ATF to be held in Vietnam after the first in 2009. The forum aims to provide a platform for exchanging information and cooperation orientations, strengthening regional cooperation to ensure sustainable development of the ASEAN tourism industry towards developing the region into an attractive single destination for international visitors and accelerate the inner bloc exchange of tourists, Sieu.
Wardi Bin Haji Mohammad Alo from the Brunei Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism said the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025 outlines that ASEAN will become a high-quality destination, bringing diverse and unique experiences. Regional countries will develop their tourism in a sustainable, responsible, comprehensive and balanced manner, making significant contributions to regional socio-economic development.
The plan set forth two major orientations: improving the competitive capacity of ASEAN tourism as a single destination and ensuring sustainable and comprehensive development while promoting the training of tourism professionals. Therefore, member countries will continue to closely cooperate and implement tourism projects to obtain the best possible results, he said.
Vietnam received more than 1.6 million ASEAN tourists last year, accounting for around 13% of the total number of foreign visitors to the country. Tourists from ASEAN and other major partners such as China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and Russia made up 74% of the total foreign arrivals to the Southeast Asian nation.