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The 14th Meeting of Asean Tourism Ministers

The Fourteenth Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers (14th M-ATM) was held on 17 January 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2011 (ATF 2011). The Meeting was preceded by the Thirty-Third Meeting of ASEAN National Organisations and other ASEAN NTOs meetings with Dialogue Partners. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, with H.E. Mr. Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia, acting as Vice Chairman.

The Ministers noted the positive arrivals growth of visitor arrivals into ASEAN. Preliminary figures show that ASEAN attracted more than 65 million visitors last year, posting a healthy 12 per cent growth. Intra-ASEAN travel continued to be a major share of tourists, making up 45% of total international arrivals.

ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015

The Ministers also noted the completion of all projects and activities under the Roadmap for Integration of Tourism Sector (RITS) which expired in 2010. Acknowledging the importance of tourism as an economic engine and a tool for development and change in the region, the Ministers adopted the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015. This ATSP contributes to the overall goals of the ASEAN Community by 2015 through promotion of growth, integration and competitiveness of the tourism sector and at the same time deepen social and cultural understanding as well as facilitating travel into and within ASEAN. The ATSP provides a balanced set of actions and activities to realise the following vision:
“By 2015, ASEAN will provide an increasing number of visitors to the region with authentic and diverse products, enhanced connectivity, a safe and secure environment, increased quality of services, while at the same time ensuring an increased quality of life and opportunities for residents through responsible and sustainable tourism development by working effectively with a wide range of stakeholders.”

The Ministers emphasized the need for effective and on-schedule implementation of ATSP 2011-2015. The Ministers requested ASEAN NTOs to coordinate and oversee the implementation of ATSP and to report the progress of its implementation on a regular basis. The ASEAN NTOs shall also work closely with relevant ASEAN bodies, including ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) and ASEAN Directors-General of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM), on the measures to facilitate travel in the region.

The Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Government of the United States for the technical assistance provided through the USAID, UNWTO and PATA for contributing their expertise in developing ATSP 2011-2015.

Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity

The Ministers welcomed the endorsement of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) by the ASEAN Leaders at the 17th ASEAN Summit held on 28 October 2010 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, which encompasses physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity with the objective of further enhancing connectivity within ASEAN and promote the connectivity between ASEAN and the wider region of East Asia in the long run. The endorsement of this Master Plan will certainly support the ASEAN tourism development particularly through an extensive and reliable transportation network connecting destinations, cities, and source markets.

In line with the strategies under the MPAC, the Ministers tasked their senior officials to provide support to and coordinate with relevant ASEAN bodies in advancing tourism-related measures, including facilitation of inter-state passenger land transportation, development of ASEAN Single Aviation Market, enhancing border management capabilities, encouraging greater intra-ASEAN people mobility, and promoting deeper intra-ASEAN social and cultural understanding.

The Ministers were pleased to note the significant progress achieved by the ASEAN Transport Ministers in further pursuing the ASEAN Open Skies Policy, particularly in concluding the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Air Services (MAFLPAS) and its Protocols, which will further expand the scope of the existing ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services (MAAS) to include other ASEAN cities. The Ministers also welcomed the conclusion of the ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement as it will significantly enhance air accessibility between ASEAN Member States and China, a major source market for ASEAN tourism. The Ministers looked forward to the early conclusions of the ASEAN-India Air Services Agreement and the ASEAN-ROK Air Transport Agreement.

Enhancing Quality of ASEAN Tourism Professionals

The Ministers were pleased to acknowledge the convening of the First ASEAN Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee (ATPMC) Meeting held on 29 June 2010 in Lombok, Indonesia, and the progress achieved by ASEAN Member States in establishing the necessary requirements under the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals such as Tourism Professional Certification Board (TPCB) and National Tourism Professional Board (NTPB). In further developing regional infrastructure to support the implementation of MRA, the Ministers supported the recommendation of senior officials to begin the development of comprehensive training materials for housekeeping division due to its significant employment opportunities in the region.

In meeting the increasing Russian tourists, the Ministers noted the success of the Russian Language Course for the ASEAN Tour Operators held on 6 July – 3 August 2010 in Jakarta, preceded by a two-month e-class learning held since February 2010. The Ministers thanked the Russian Government for its technical assistance provided to ASEAN Member States in organising this training course.

The Ministers were pleased to note the outcomes of following events organised by the ASEAN Tourism Resource and Management Development Networks (ATRM): the Workshop on Dominance, Influence, Stability and Compliance (DISC) Personality Profiling for Tourism and Hospitality Leaders held on 10-13 May 2010 in Langkawi, Malaysia; and the Workshop on Cultural Heritage Tourism held on 17-19 June 2010 in Solo, Indonesia; and the Workshop on ASEAN Eco-Tourism held on 11-16 July 2010 in Surat Thani, Thailand. The Ministers encouraged the respective country coordinators to sustain the activities as collaborative work for enhancing capacities as well as for knowledge and information exchange on tourism management and development in ASEAN.

ASEAN Tourism Marketing and Promotion

The Ministers took note of the ASEAN Youth Traveller Programmes through the holding of several youth related events, among others, the ASEAN Youth Explorace 2010 held on 3-9 August 2010 in Malaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the 3rd ASEAN Jazz Festival held on 15-16 October 2010 in Harbour Bay, Batam Island, Indonesia; the ASEAN Family Rally held on 11-15 November 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand; and the ASEAN Plus Three Youth Traveller Programme held on 15-21 November 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Ministers acknowledged joint tourism promotional activities to create brand awareness and promote ASEAN as a region carried out by the ASEAN Promotional Chapter for Tourism (APCT) in Sydney in 2010 through participation in major tourism consumer shows in Australia. The Ministers requested their senior officials to expedite the establishments of APCT in Mumbai and Dubai.

The Ministers supported the efforts of ASEAN NTOs to collaborate and collectively promote ASEAN Cruise Tourism. The Ministers noted that the ASEAN Cruise Working Group will co-locate individual country booths at major international cruise trade shows, starting with Cruise Shipping Miami 2011 from 14-17 March 2011 and Cruise Shipping Asia from 16-18 November 2011. The Ministers acknowledged that Southeast Asia holds great potential for cruise tourism and the joint marketing efforts will strengthen the region’s share of mind among key decision makers in the cruise industry.

The Ministers supported the development of a new ASEAN tourism marketing strategy that would review the implementation of the Visit ASEAN Campaign and existing ASEAN tourism marketing activities, including the policy framework of the marketing strategy, market review, brand strategy, and implementation and distribution strategy. The outcomes of this exercise are expected to strengthen and renew activities of the Visit ASEAN Campaign activities in line with the ASEAN Tourism Agreement signed by the ASEAN Leaders in 2002.

Tourism Investment Opportunities

The Ministers noted the outcomes of the Fourth ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum (ATIF) held on 29-30 September 2010 in Hoi Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, with the theme “ASEAN Tourism Investment: Challenges and Opportunities” as the theme. This event has been successful in highlighting the tourism investment potential, opportunities, and incentives, including promoting the new potential tourism investment products in ASEAN Member States. The Ministers agreed to hold the Fifth ATIF in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2012 in Indonesia.

Quality Tourism Improvement

In further enhancing ASEAN as a world-class tourism destination, the Ministers were pleased to note the progress of the reviewing process of the ASEAN Green Hotel Standards, including the review of the criteria and requirements and the activities to identify its performance indicators and certification process. In line with the ATSP, the Ministers requested their senior officials to develop the ASEAN comprehensive tourism standards with certification process for green hotel, homestay, public toilet, spa service as well as ASEAN tourism security and safety guidelines.

In line with the directive of the Leaders to further strengthen ASEAN cooperation to effectively respond to climate change, especially on mitigation, adaptation and capacity building in areas of mutual interests such as sustainable development, environmental protection and water resource management, the Ministers agreed on the need for ASEAN tourism to develop its strategic actions to enhance the ability of this sector to address the climate change issue. The Ministers were pleased to note the outcomes of the Workshop on Developing the Framework of ASEAN Tourism Standards in Responding to the Climate Change held on 5-7 October 2010 in Bali and the inclusion of the recommendations into the ATSP. The Ministers requested their senior officials to prepare a work plan on ASEAN tourism activities to contribute to climate change reduction initiatives. The Ministers thanked the Government of New Zealand through NZAID for the technical assistance to ASEAN in conducting this workshop.

The Ministers noted the successful completion of the ASEAN Crisis Communication Team Work plan 2010. Following through with the previous years activities that sought to build up communications competencies with ASEAN, ACCT successfully conducted sharing workshop lead by industry professionals on how to manage crisis communications through social networking sites and post-crisis communication recovery strategies.

ASEAN with Dialogue Partners

In commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN Promotion Centre on Trade, Investment and Tourism (ASEAN-Japan Centre), the Ministers expressed appreciation to the ASEAN-Japan Centre for its efforts in providing continuous support and technical assistance to the development of ASEAN tourism sector, including enhancing tourism stakeholders’ capacity to better cater to Japanese tourists, promoting ASEAN tourism to Japanese market and strengthening product development.

The Ministers also thanked the ASEAN-Korean Centre for its activities in providing its support in promoting ASEAN tourism in Korea through tourism fairs, publication lecture series and capacity building for ASEAN tourism stakeholders.

The Ministers supported the initiative to work with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the golf (GCC) to implement tourism measures under the ASEAN-GCC Plan of Action (2010-2012).

ASEAN Tourism Forum 2011

The Ministers noted that the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) held on 15-21 January 2011 in Phnom Penh with the theme: “ASEAN- a World of Wonders and Diversity” was attended by more than 442 international buyers and more than 380 sellers with 512 booths in ASEAN. The Ministers acknowledged the partnership with CNN International as the “Official International Cable and Satellite Media Partner” for ATF 2011.

The Ministers noted that ATF 2012 will be convened in Manado, Indonesia on 9-15 January 2012 with “ASEAN Tourism for a Global Community of Nations” as the theme. Lao PDR confirmed to be the host of ATF 2013.

The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and People of Cambodia for the warm hospitality accorded to the delegations and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.

The Meeting was attended by:

H.E. Pehin Dato Yahya, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia;
H.E. Mr. Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia;
H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister, Chairman of Lao National Tourism Administration, Lao PDR;
H.E. Dato Dr. James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Malaysia;
H.E. Mr. Soe Naing, Minister, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar;
H.E. Mr. Alberto A. Lim, Secretary of Tourism, Philippines;
H.E. Mr. S. Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
H.E. Mr. Chumpol Silapa-archa, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand;
H.E. Mr. Ho Anh Tuan, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Viet Nam; and
H.E. Mr. Sundram Pushpanathan, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN Secretariat.