A roundup of tourism news from the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's Tourism Office
Laos Ready for ASEAN Tourism Forum 2013
In an interview released 20 December, Lao PDR, Minister, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, H.E. Prof. Dr. Bosengkham Vongdara, said that arranging adequate number of hotel rooms has been the biggest challenge for Laos hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum which takes place, 17-24 January 2013. Nevertheless he said preparations were nearly all in place. He said the main benefits to Laos would be "more business and job creation opportunities through an expanded visitor economy". He added: "Laos is still a developing country. Our people need more opportunities. Tourism and support from ASEAN visitors will help us. We are grateful for the opportunity to host ATF 2013." Read the interview here.
ATF Numbers Looking Good
ATF 2013 is expected to attract close to 1,100 buyer registrations, out of which about 380 quality buyers will be hosted. Over 50 non-hosted buyers will also join in. The forum will have buyers from new markets such as Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Ireland, Israel, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.
CNN and CNBC Supporting ATF 2013
CNN and CNBC will play major roles at ATF 2013. CNN will run a pro-destination ASEAN advert on its Asia Pacific and South Asia satellite feeds. CNN will also host a luncheon at the Don Chan Palace Hotel during ATF. CNBC meanwhile will run a panel discussion with ASEAN Ministers + 3 at which an edition of CNBC Connect will be recorded, with the sessions moderated by a CNBC anchor. An edited version of the discussion will run on CNBC Asia Pacific. CNBC will also host a delegate dinner on 20 January during ATF. The ATF programme is here.
Mutual Recognition Arrangements Will Help AEC
The attractiveness of ASEAN destinations needs to be accompanied by quality services. ASEAN's objective is to have high-skilled tourism workers delivering services in a consistent way in key areas such as hotels, aviation, immigration, and more. One of the ways to achieve this goal is through Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) that recognize qualifications of tourism professionals across ASEAN member states.
Following the signing of a MRA by Mr Chumpol Silapa-archa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand on 9 November 2012 in Bangkok, ASEAN is implementing the MRA Work Plan by using 'toolboxes'. These are competency standards, trainee manuals, trainer guides and assessment packages for 46 units of the ASEAN Common Competency Standards on Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP).
The completion of toolboxes for generic and housekeeping competencies was followed by training for ASEAN Master Trainers and ASEAN Master Assessors, which took place over the last two months in Bali. With technical support from the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP), 27 participants from ASEAN Member States attended this training in Bali. The Graduation Ceremony for ASEAN Master Trainers took place on 2 December in Bali. The Graduation Ceremony for Master Assessors took place 14 December 2012.
With the graduation of ASEAN Master Trainers and Assessors, ASEAN can begin implementation of this MRA particularly within hotel housekeeping divisions by next year. Within tourism this is an important step on the road to ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. Further information here.
ASEAN Destinations 'Piggybacking' Through Joint Promotions
Over the last 12 months — and over the next few weeks — ASEAN destinations have been active together. Highlights include:
- The ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum (ATIF) 7-8 November, 2012 in Lombok, Indonesia, Indonesia.
- The ASEAN Food Festival which was held in conjunction with ASEAN Tourism Working Group and Committee Meeting 17-21, September 2012 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Every ASEAN member state contributed by sending an executive chef to join the festival.
- At ATF Laos 2013, Lao PDR will provide one free booth to the ASEAN Secretariat for promoting ASEAN tourism at Travex, with support from TTG.
At ATF Laos 2013, some ASEAN NTOs will host social functions:
- 22 Jan — Tourism Malaysia will host a "Malaysia Night" dinner at Don Chan Palace Hotel.
- 22 Jan — the Philippines Department of Tourism will host a late night function.
- 23 Jan — The Tourism Authority of Thailand: Pattaya Office and Chonburi Provincial Administrative Organization, will jointly host "Pattaya Variety Night" late night function at Don Chan Palace Hotel.
ASEAN Tourism Marketing Working Group: