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July 18, 2019

Shining future for ASEAN tourism

The 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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