As grouping turns 50 next year, campaign will promote 600 destinations in the region.
IN ORDER to build a real sense of community, Asean will for the first time launch a regional tourism campaign to promote 600 destinations to boost arrivals and income when the regional grouping turns 50 next year.
Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said officials of national tourism organisations from the 10 nations had agreed at a meeting in the Philippines to introduce “Asean at 50” as the new regional tourism campaign.
The campaign will be announced tomorrow at the Asean Tourism Forum in Manila and there will be a grand opening at the International Tourism Berse (ITB) in Germany in the first quarter of this year.
“Asean promotes itself as a single-market tourist destination as all members were integrated into an economic community at the end of last year. The campaign will be part of Asean’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” Pongpanu said.
Asean will be promoting 600 attractions located across the region, which will be divided into 12 different categories under the theme of “50 Best…”.
The dozen categories will be the 50 best of cities, hotels, restaurants, food, festivals and celebrations, beaches, shopping, historical sites, adventure tourism, small towns and villages, markets, as well as unforgettable experiences.
Pongpanu said each Asean member would propose their attractions and products to a central committee, which should complete the selection procedure before the grand opening in Germany.
Thailand is assigned to lead the selection of two categories: festivals and celebrations, as well as unforgettable experiences, he said.
“The new campaign should boost tourism income and total arrivals in the region by 15 per cent from 100 million to 115 million,” he added.
Officials from national tourism organisations also approved another 10-year Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) set for 2016-25, while Asean tourism ministers adopted the ATSP 2011-15 that focused on 19 measures.
Plan for tourism professIonals
The 10-year plan is also expected to boost tourism earnings for the entire region from 10 to 15 per cent in 2025, while employment in the sector should rise from 3 to 7 per cent, travellers’ length of stay will climb from 6.3 days to eight days and average spending per trip per visitor will rise from $900 to $1,500 or Bt 27,000 to Bt45,000.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the total number of international arrivals inAsean is expected to rise to 123 million by 2020, 152 million by 2025 and 187 million by 2030.
Pongpanu said Asean will be also focusing on other developments such as improving infrastructure, enhancing competency, labour transfer, a single visa for all nations in the grouping as well as maintaining major tourism markets such as China, India and Russia.
On January 19, all 10 Asean tourism ministers signed an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The secretariat will be based in Jakarta and will commence operations this year.
Signed by Asean Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals in the region.
Dr Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry, said the MRA-TP marked a significant milestone for tourism development in Asean.
“Moving forward, Malaysia, as chairman of the Asean Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the Asean MRA-TP,” he said.