ASEAN targets 121 million international tourist arrivals via Visit ASEAN@50 campaign

Singapore, SINGAPORE —  The Visit ASEAN@50 tourism campaign was launched here on Wednesday to promote ASEAN as a single, unified travel destination.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the regional grouping hoped to increase the number of international tourist arrivals by 10 per cent to 121 million, which is an entirely achievable objective.

Launching the campaign at the opening of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), Lee said: “Working together is much more than jointly marketing ASEAN through campaigns and promotions.”

To boost tourism growth in the region beyond marketing campaigns, he outlined three strategies, namely strengthening air links, building up cruise tourism which has immense potential growth, and developing talent.

“Tourism is one area where by working together, we get win-win benefits, grow our economies, create jobs, and draw our people together,” he added. Lee said the ATF 2017 is the first event that Singapore is hosting during ASEAN’s 50th anniversary.

He said the theme, “Shaping Our Tourism Journey Together” is apt, as it reflects the grouping’s commitment to overcome shared challenges and create opportunities for the people of the region. Lee noted that ASEAN-member countries had a fast growing middle-class and as its people become more affluent, more of them want to travel to see the world.

“At the same time, ASEAN itself offers an enormous richness of attractions. That is why tourists from around the world want to visit Southeast Asia.

“Singapore is happy to be the lead coordinator for the ASEAN Cruise Development initiatives. We need to work closely together to make this happen, and harness opportunities under the ‘Cruise South East Asia’ brand,” he said.

At the event, Lee also announced that the ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA) will be offering two post-graduate scholarship schemes.

“Four universities in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have pledged to offer scholarships to support the scheme,” he said.

He also said ASEAN cooperation in the tourism sector demonstrates clearly the benefits of regional cooperation.

“Through greater openness and mutual interdependence, we generate more opportunities and prosperity all around,” he added.

The ATF 2017 from Jan 16-20 comprises ASEAN National Tourism Organisations and Dialogue Partners’ Meetings (Jan 16-18) and the Annual ASEAN Tourism Ministers and Dialogue Partners’ Meetings (Jan 19-20).

Source: astro AWANI