Shining future for ASEAN tourism

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[dropcap font=”0″]T[/dropcap]he tourism industry in ASEAN is shining like never before as the rising middle class among its more than 600 million people is a rich source of visitors for the region. With its great outdoors and rich and diverse culture, the region has the potential to be a strong global brand in tourism.
The roadmap of the region for the tourism industry includes promoting ASEAN as a single tourist destination and allowing visitors to travel throughout the region using a single visa in the future. Some countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have done very well attracting tourists on their own. But as a region, ASEAN needs a more collective branding – a series of tourism campaigns that will go viral and bring visitors to multiple countries. The wholesale tourism business via “MICE” – meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – could be integral to grabbing a greater market share.
Although topographical features would be a barrier for the region to build a European-like inter-state railway and road network outside mainland Indochina comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and west Malaysia, a network of nautical highways across maritime destinations would be a viable option.
ASEAN’s Strategic Tourism Plan (ATSP) from 2011 to 2015 is ending this year. The first step towards the ATSP was the formulation of a concise vision of Southeast Asia’s tourism development for the next 10 years (2016 – 2025). The first implementation period will be laid down for the new ATSP this year, with the formation of a task force for key responsibilities including developing the strategic direction, strategic actions, measures, outcomes and timeline of ASEAN tourism for the years 2016 – 2020.
ASEAN possesses a lot of potential to become a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse ASEAN experience by 2025 and will be committed to responsible, sustainable and inclusive tourism development. However, peace and stability are priorities to realize this expectation.

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