This year the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) was held in Vietnam’s Halong Bay, where the UNESCO-designated site played host to more than 1,500 delegates from 53 countries. They participated in over 100 meetings, business, education and social functions during the week-long event, which also includes the three-day Travex, the trade mart component of ATF.
ASEAN members from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam attended ATF Travex, a three-day travel exhibition.
Within the framework of ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025, ASEAN NTOs developed the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS) 2017-2020 as a guideline to embark on marketing activities during the stated period. The objective of the ATMS is to build awareness of Southeast Asia as a unique, sustainable and inclusive tourism destination, with a focus on digital marketing and partnerships.
The target geographic segments are intra-ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, India, Europe, USA, Australia and Middle East. Southeast Asia’s unique culinary, wellness, culture and heritage, and nature and adventure offerings are to be highlighted over the course of the ATMS period.
H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said: “The people of Quang Ninh province are honoured to host ATF and invite all delegates to experience the natural beauty, warm people and endless adventures here in Ha Long Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ATF is a platform for all ASEAN Member States to build a stronger and more powerful position on the world stage with meaningful initiatives that boost tourism growth while preserving our unique and collective heritage, identity and culture for the next generation to experience. We wish all delegates a fruitful experience with us.”
- Viet Nam achieved 20% increase in tourism arrivals in 2018, the highest growth among ASEAN countries. The country was awarded the ‘Asia’s Leading Destination 2018’ and ‘Asia’s Best Golf Destination 2018’ by World Travel Awards and World Golf Awards respectively. 2019 is earmarked ‘Visit Vietnam 2019 – Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa’ to promote the nation’s cultural and coastal assets.
Brunei Darussalam launched its new tourism branding, ‘Brunei: Adobe of Peace’, and a new website. This year, Bandar Seri Begawan will be named as the Capital of Islamic Culture in Asia for 2019, whereby the country will promote more cultural and Islamic tourism packages. The state will host ATF 2020 and Travex next January.
- Philippines reinforced its thrust of promoting the country as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination by anchoring its projects focusing on green destinations and offering community-based products. Philippines Tourism Promotion Board also updated on its newly-opened airports, i.e. Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport, and Cagayan North International Airport.
- Malaysia produced the ASEAN Tourism Packages 2019-2020. There are 69 multi-country travel packages featuring ASEAN destinations from 38 travel agents, supporting the promotion of ASEAN as a single destination.