|UNESCO-recognised Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province
First held in 1981, the ATF has been the biggest tourism event in Southeast Asia. It is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one tourist destination. The hosting of the annual event is rotated among the ASEAN member countries.
This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the ATF, following the first in 2009 under the theme of “ASEAN Tourism – Striving for a New Height”.
Many important initiatives, proposals and memorandums of understanding have been adopted at the forum, aiming to enhance tourism cooperation and connectivity between regional countries.
Delegates have also set forth a range of solutions to help ease adverse impact of the global financial crisis on the tourism sector.
Through the forum, Vietnam has asserted its commitments to partnering with other ASEAN members in building ASEAN into an attractive destination, towards sustainable tourism development.
Over the past years, the country has emerged as a dynamic and outstanding tourist attraction with special cultural and historical values, amazing landscapes, and friendly and hospitable people.
In the “Tourism Highlights 2018” of the United Nations World Tourism Orgnisation (UNWTO), Vietnam ranked third in the top ten countries with the highest increases in international tourist arrivals. It was the only Asian representative named among the top ten global adventure destinations by readers of global travel website TripAdvisor last year.
Themed “ASEAN – The Power of One,” the 2019 ATF aims to materialise cooperation orientations set by the ten-member group, towards “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
Representatives of ASEAN travel agencies, the UNWTO and international travel organisations, associations, businesses and media agencies are expected to joint the annual forum.
Meetings of ASEAN tourism ministers, and between ASEAN tourism ministers and partner countries are scheduled for January 17-18.
The forum will focus on such issues as human resources development, competitiveness improvement in tourism, sustainable and inclusive tourism development, tourism security and safety, and climate change and tourism.
Of note, ATF also provides a platform for the trade of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member countries, through the 3-day TRAVEX event which features 346 booths.
The sellers come from ASEAN member countries while the buyers hail from 32 countries and territories from Asia, Europe, America, the Middle East and Africa.