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Published on January 24, 2019

HA LONG BAY, VIET NAM – The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) concluded on the 18th of January 2019, with ASEAN Tourism Ministers updating attendees with progress updates for the region’s sustainable travel and tourism sector.

Revealing the continuous growth in 2018, the ASEAN region welcomed more than 129 million visitors, an increase of 7.6 per cent from 2017.

ASEAN’s 10 tourism ministers emphasized enhancing awareness of Southeast Asia as a single destination, and shared plans for their commitment to improve tourism in this region.

Some of key highlights from ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 :

ASEAN – India Tourism Cooperation Year

The 2019 year was announced to be ASEAN-India Tourism Cooperation Year.  Both ASEAN and India aim to enhance collaboration between the two sides in order to increase two-way tourist visits, as well as to promote people-to-people exchanges.

Deliverables for Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship

As a follow up to the Joint Declaration on Gastronomy Tourism, the Gastronomy Tourism Master Plan is being developed as one of deliverables for Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship.  The first ASEAN Gastronomy Forum will be held between 21-22 March 2019 in Thailand.

Diversifying ASEAN Tourism Products

The ASEAN Tourism Packages for 2019-2020, spearheaded by Malaysia, featuring over 130 tourism products in 69 multi-country packages, was released during ATF.

It was also revealed that the ASEAN Buddhist Tourism Story Book and website of Buddhist Tourism in ASEAN and South Asia will be launched in 2019 for people to learn more about this region’s culture.

Enhanced Marketing and Communications

A marketing agency was appointed to support the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS) through integrated campaign development, social media marketing, and partnerships. 

The ministers also thanked AirAsia and TTG, an Airline Partner and Trade Media Partner respectively, for their collaboration in promoting ASEAN tourism throughout 2018.  Other international partners were invited to establish marketing partnership with ASEAN.

Connecting Heritages for ASEAN Tourism Development

The ASEAN Tourism Conference on “Connecting Heritages for ASEAN Tourism Development in Digital Age” was organized at ATF to share lessons and develop initiatives on the balance between tourism development and heritage preservation in ASEAN, to make ASEAN a high-end destination with authentic experiences.

Developing Quality Tourism

In a continuous effort to improve quality tourism, ASEAN Tourism Standards Awards were given in 4 categories, namely Homestay (30 establishments), Community Based Tourism (26 entities), Spa Services (44 establishments), and Public Toilet (42 entities).  ATF 2019 was the first time ASEAN Spa Services Awards and ASEAN Public Toilet Awards were introduced.  The ministers also adopted the ASEAN MICE Venue Standard for Meeting Rooms in Convention/Exhibition and Public/Private Sector and the ASEAN MICE Venue Standard for Exhibition Venues.

Enhancing Capabilities of Tourism Professionals

The ministers also adopted ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement in Tourism Professional (MRA-TP) Work Plan 2019-2023, which envisions that tourism professionals in the region are certified to deliver quality tourism services.

ASEAN Tourism Forum

The ATF 2020 will be held on 12-16 January 2020 in Brunei Darussalam, with the theme “ASEAN – Together Towards A Next Generation of Travel”. The 2021 edition will be in Cambodia. For more information, please visit:



The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.


The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one tourist destination. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member states of ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

ATF was established in 1981. Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries, and 2019 marks the 38th anniversary of the event.


Further information


ASEAN Tourism Competitiveness Committee:


ASEAN Tourism Marketing Agency