Pictured above: Head of Malaysia NTO, Y.Bhg. Datuk Dr. Ong Hong Peng (Secretary General at Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia)
ASEAN’s current Strategic Tourism Plan (ATSP) from 2011 to 2015 is ending this year. Hence, ASEAN NTOs and the ASEAN Secretariat supported by tourism experts led by Mr. Ludwig Rieder, are working closely together to develop the new ATSP, a clear evidence of the strong collaboration among ASEAN Member States in developing Tourism in the region.
The first step towards the ATSP was the formulation of a concise vision of Southeast Asia’s Tourism Development for the next ten years (2016 – 2025). Through various sessions, meetings and workshops, in which senior officials of ASEAN NTOs participated extensively, a vision statement has been adopted:
“By 2025, ASEAN will be a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse ASEAN experience, and will be committed to responsible, sustainable and inclusive tourism development, so as to contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of ASEAN people”
During 2015, the first implementation period will be laid down for the new ATSP, for which the NTOs have set up a Task Force. Key responsibilities of this task force include developing the Strategic Direction, Strategic Actions, Measures, Outcomes and Timeline of ASEAN Tourism for the years 2016 – 2020, based on several focus areas derived from the vision. These include, inter alia, Quality Tourism, Sustainable Growth & Development, Connectivity & Travel Facilitation, Manpower and Skills Competence Development, Safety and Security, Tourism Investment, Infrastructure and Climate Change, of which some are under the purview of the NTOs, and others beyond, which require coordination with related ASEAN Committees. In addition, the Task Force will evaluate and validate appropriate strategies and recommendations thereupon.
The Task Force has engaged with relevant international, regional, sub-regional, and bilateral organizations, the private sector and development partners to share their insights on this strategic tourism planning and implementation process.
The Head of Malaysia NTO – Y.Bhg. Datuk Dr. Ong Hong Peng (Secretary General at Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia), who has recently hosted the first ATSP meeting of 2015 in Kuala Lumpur (January 9 and 10), remarked, “AEC with the goal of ASEAN economic integration presents immense opportunities for the advancement of ASEAN as a single tourism destination. It is therefore timely, through this meeting I hope a draft ATSP 2016 – 2025 can be developed and endorsed by the ASEAN Tourism Ministers during the ATF 2015 in Myanmar. The ATSP 2016 – 2025 will chart the strategic directions, focus areas and game changers to expedite the growth and development of ASEAN tourism”.
The new ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan is due to be launched at the 2016 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), to be held in the Philippines.