The 21st Meeting of Asean Tourism Ministers held in Thailand at the end of last month adopted many important documents, notably Asean declarations and partner declarations on the development of tourism in the region.
According to a document and joint media statement from the Tourism Management Department of the Information, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Asean ministers approved declarations relating to tourism ministers, tourism ministers plus 3, promoting Asean food for tourism, and a tourism cruise.
They also adopted the Asean activities plan and the Asean plus 3 plan for 2018-2020.
The meeting was part of the Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) held in Chiang Mai province, Thailand, from January 22 to 26.
The Lao delegation was led by Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara.
Following the joint media statement, the ministers noted the progress made in the implementation of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025 under which 15 key activities of the Work Plan for 2016-2017 had been completed.
To ensure continued implementation of the programme, the ministers adopted the two-year Work Plan (2018-2019), translating identified activities within ATSP 2016-2025 into concrete detailed plans with clear milestones to be achieved for the next two years.
The ministers said they appreciated the active role of the lead countries in leading the implementation of ATSP activities and encouraged their continued support to sustain Asean tourism’s contribution towards the realisation of Asean integration goals in 2025.
This also included expanding the Asean Regional Destination-Marketing Programme. Based on preliminary submissions made by member states for 2017, the Asean region is expected to receive 125 million international visitors, exceeding the target of 121 million set for Visit Asean@50.
This new record posts a growth of 8.4 percent from 2016, where arrivals were dominated by intra-Asean travel, accounting for 42 percent of total international arrivals.
In addition to the visitor arrivals target, the targets of length of stay and revenue have also been fully achieved, with Asean countries hosting an average of 7.98 days of stay by international tourists, generating US$93 billion from tourism in 2017.
During the ATF meeting, Asean tourism standard awards were presented. Laos received awards in four categories: the Asean Green Hotel standard; the Asean Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) standard; Asean Clean Tourist City standard (Luang Prabang province received this award); and Asean sustainable tourism, which was given for Phousy Hill in the town of Luang Prabang and Tree Top Explorer in Pakxong district, Champassak province.
Asean Green Hotel standard awards went to the Sofitel in Luang Prabang, Azerai in Luang Prabang, Phoubachieng in Champassak province, Thavysok in Vientiane province, and the Ngamlao in Oudomxay province.
Five other hotels received the MICE standard including the Lao Plaza, Don Chan Palace, Landmark and Muang Thanh hotels in Vientiane, and the Luang Prabang View in Luang Prabang.
Work towards Asean tourism standards in Laos is supported by the government and international organisations, including the economic integration project, trade and economic development project run by GIZ and infrastructure development for tourism promotion funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The Asean Tourism Forum, held under the theme “Asean – Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity” was attended by 240 buyers, 650 sellers and 894 exhibitors. The ministers expressed their appreciation to CNN International as the International Cable and Satellite Media Partner of ATF 2018.
In 2019 the Asean Tourism Forum will take place from January 14-18 in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam under the theme “Asean – the Power of One”. The 2020 Forum will take place in Brunei Darussalam.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update Februay 1, 2018)
THE VIENTIANE TIMES