Chiang Mai, 26 January, 2018 – ASEAN countries have unveiled a broad range of tourism events, policy upgrades, marketing campaigns and product updates that will drive the 10-member countries’ travel industry to even greater heights in 2018 and beyond.
The collective presentations made by each of the 10 countries during the ATF 2018 media briefings underscored the vibrancy of the ASEAN region and its unmatched cultural, social, ethnic and geographical diversity.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said: “The ATF, which Thailand is proud to have successfully hosted this year, is a celebration of the entire region. Because each of the ASEAN countries is unique its own way, the tourism products, plans and policies are all similarly unique.
“However, it is the combined power of these individual policies, especially those related to facilitation and connectivity, that makes ASEAN such a popular and rapidly-growing destination. That is why we had chosen ‘Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity’ as the theme of this year’s ATF,” Mr. Yuthasak added.
Aside from Thailand, here is a brief snapshot summary of each of the ASEAN country presentations:
Brunei is planning to double the number of tourist arrivals (by air) from 218,000 in 2015 to 450,000 tourists by 2020. The strategy is to market its natural and cultural attractions, and develop new ones such as Bird Watching, Diving, Summer School, Kite Festivals, Fruit Festivals and others.
Cambodia will host its next Travel Mart in October 2018 in the capital, Phnom Penh. The venue will be the Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Centre, the centerpiece of a strategy to help Cambodia attract more MICE events, and enhance the attraction of iconic cultural destinations such as Angkor Wat.
Indonesia is marking Visit Wonderful Indonesia (Viwi) in 2018, with a year-long celebration of 3A elements (Attraction, Amenity, and Accessibility) hot deals, packages, colourful festivals and Digital Destinations. More than 200 events are being held nationwide, in the fields of culture, arts and entertainment, business, sports, education and science.
Lao PDR.: This is Visit Laos Year 2018, to be marked by dozens of activities and events nationwide and overseas. ASEAN’s only landlocked country is boosting cross-border linkages with five neighbouring countries, including China. It allows visa exemption for 25 countries. Of the 27 international checkpoints, 25 also have visa-on-arrival facilities.
Malaysia will host the PATA Travel Mart 2018 in Langkawi. The 5th UNWTO World Tourism Conference will be held in 2019. A Visit Malaysia Year has been designated for 2020. Malaysia will be the destination partner of the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association Conference in 2018 and the ITB Berlin in 2019.
Myanmar is forecasting 7.2 million visitors by 2020, nearly double the 3.14 million arrivals in 2017, thanks to growing international air and land connectivity and more new destinations and hotels. Bagan will be submitted to UNESCO for world heritage status. A significant expansion in the visa free and visa on arrival countries is planned.
The Philippines has launched a number of strategic campaigns and travel events such as the Bring Home a Friend Program, Madrid Fusion Manila, World Street Food Congress and Dive Fiesta Philippines. As an entirely island nation, it is expanding its air connectivity to the various beach destinations such as Boracay, Palawan and Cebu.
Singapore has launched a New Brand campaign slogan, Passion Made Possible. The Singapore Tourism Board has become the first NTO in Southeast Asia to partner with the Disney entertainment conglomerate. In addition to hosting the F1 motor-racing till 2021, it will be the first Southeast Asian country to host a leg of the International Champions Cup football trophy between 2017-2021.
Vietnam is marking Visit Vietnam Year in 2018. It will be the host of the next ASEAN Tourism Forum in January 2019 in Ha Long Bay. E-visa privileges for citizens of 46 countries and visa exemption for 22 countries helped Vietnam hit 13 million international visitors in 2017, up 30% over 2016.