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Tourism Ministers Meetings Upbeat On ASEAN Tourism Progress

Published on January 28, 2015

The 18th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers and the 14th Meeting of ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Ministers (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea), respectively on the 25th and 26th January, in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, were held in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2015 (ATF). A wide variety of tourism subjects relevant to ASEAN were discussed and decided upon. A few of the highlights thereof, of interest to the tourism industry and wider community, are presented hereafter.

Firstly, the Ministers were pleased with the provisional figures of international tourists visiting ASEAN Member States amounting to 97.2 million, a growth of 3% from 2013. Likewise, intra-ASEAN travel, the main growth engine of tourism in the region, recorded over 50% share of total international tourists visiting ASEAN, which to quite an extent could be ascribed to the operationalization of the ASEAN Open Skies Agreement.

Secondly, it was agreed unanimously that the underlying vision for the next period of ASEAN’s Strategic Tourism Plan (ATSP) for the period 2016 – 2025 would be to strive to become a quality tourism destination offering a unique and diverse ASEAN experience, while committed to responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balanced tourism development.

In that respect, in the framework of Human Resources Development and Mobility in Tourism, the Ministers endorsed to establish a Regional Secretariat for the Implementation of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals, in Jakarta, Indonesia. This office will, inter alia, support the certification of some 6,000 tourism workers, based on the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP).

Furthermore, to enhance quality in tourism, the Ministers launched the ASEAN Tourism Security & Safety Guidelines and Online Resource Centre Website (, containing guidelines, best practice and background papers on tourism related security and safety practices in ASEAN Member States. In addition, they adopted the Tourism and Climate Change Monitoring System and Work Plan, to be included in the new Strategic Tourism Plan.

In terms of product development and marketing, the Ministers’ meetings, a/o promoted the continued enhancement of the websites of ASEAN (, Sina Weibo ( and ASEAN Member States’ NTOs; the Travel Channel for Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Love Campaign, and “ASEAN for ASEAN” activities during 2015-2016. Moreover, they praised progress re nature- and river-based tourism, the ASEAN Ecotourism Strategic Plan, Heritage Tourism products and Senior Long Stay Tourism; as well as the importance of developing a framework to exchange ideas on tourism statistics for ASEAN Plus Three (ATP) countries.

Finally, they applauded the roles of the three ASEAN Centres, respectively of China, Japan and Korea in promoting tourism and cultural exchanges between ASEAN and the three ATP countries, and thanked the Government and People of Myanmar profusely for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the Ministerial meetings at ATF 2015.

18th Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers (January 25, 2015), Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

14th Meeting of the ASEAN, China, Japan and Republic of Korea Tourism Ministers, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, January 26, 2015