Visit ASEAN: Southeast Asia sparks regional tourism efforts with new strategic plan
MANILA - Southeast Asia has sparked its single-destination tourism efforts with the adoption of a new strategic plan to increase its tourism share to the regional economy from 12 to 15 percent in a 10-year timeframe.
The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025 (ATSP 2016-2025) was formally launched by tourism ministers on Friday (Jan. 22) night at the closing of the 35th edition of ASEAN Tourism Forum 2016 (ATF 2016) held in Pasay City.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said the plan will consolidate regional tourism gains by enhancing competitiveness as one destination and ensuring that regional tourism is sustainable and inclusive.
ASEAN noted that intra-ASEAN visitor numbers account for half the total international tourist arrivals or 46 to 48 percent. This is the largest share of the total international visitor arrival in the region.
“Everyone (tourism ministers) believes from a business standpoint that selling ASEAN in a single destination will be good for us,” Jimenez told reporters on the sidelines of the ATF 2016.
“The more we compete, the more we grow, so we sell ourselves as individual destinations then collectively sell the region,” he added.
Jimenez also said that the creation of a single ASEAN visa is also expected to take shape into the first five years of the 10-year ATSP 2016-2025.
“We are well on our way to getting one, finally,” the DOT chief said, noting that although all ASEAN member states have expressed support for the measure, technical difficulties remained a challenge
“This is more a technical subject than political one. Having a single visa means you’re sharing data and we have to work our data systems,” he added.
Jimenez meanwhile pointed out that while the ATSP 2016-2025 was not a new concept, the resolve was to complete the remaining measures which may not have been accomplished in the ATSP 2011-2015.
He said that if the programs and projects under the plan are fully implemented, it is anticipated that the ASEAN tourism share of total employment will increase from 3.7 to 7 percent.
Aside from the ATSP 2016-2025, other initiatives to spur regional tourism was the unveiling of the “Visit ASEAN @ 50” campaign which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN in 2017 and the Southeast Asia Cruise Brand 2016.
Jimenez said that the campaign will involve special programs to develop the ASEAN products, events and experiences. It will launched at the world's largest tourism trade fair, the Internationale Tourismus-Borse (ITB) in Berlin this March.
The cruise brand, shaped like waves of the sea with an array of colors, will meanwhile focus on enhancing Southeast Asia’s appeal as a cruising region of choice. (PNA)