On Monday, the statement made by Dato’ Seri Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Kuching, Malaysia.
According to the statement, ASEAN continues to remain as an attractive destination for both regional and international tourists; recording an increase of 14.51% and 9.9% arrivals respectively over 2012. In 2013, 90.2 million tourists visited ASEAN, reflecting a 12% increase as compared to 2012.
The Ministers commended the progress made in facilitating the free flow of services and skilled labour within ASEAN through the implementation of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on tourism professionals. The completion of 144 toolboxes for hotel divisions, and the ASEAN Tourism Qualifications Equivalent Matrix will serve as key references for the tourism industry and training institutions in delivering the programme under the Mutual Recognition Arrangement on tourism professionals.
- Ozgur Tore representing FTNnews at ATF 2014 Ozgur Tore representing FTNnews at ATF 2014
- Traditional ASEAN handshake Traditional ASEAN handshake
In coming years, green standards will develop tourism. The statement said that ministers welcome the progress made in developing comprehensive tourism standards for green hotel, homestay, spa services, public toilets, clean tourist cities and community-based tourism, and the certification process to enhance the quality of human resources, services and facilities in the region. The officials will continue to initiate capacity building to meet the stipulated standards and facilitate their full implementation by 2015.
The ministers agreed to exchange experiences and knowledge after natural disasters. Ministers also expressed their sympathy to the Government and People of the Philippines in the aftermath of the earthquake and typhoon Haiyan that hit the country in the last quarter of 2013. In April 2013, the Framework, Approaches, Parameters and Measures for Climate Change and Tourism in ASEAN are completed.
The Ministers adopted the ASEAN Joint Declaration on the Implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism in recognition of the important role and contribution the tourism sector has made to the economic and social development in the region, namely in improving the overall quality of the lives of the people. Among others, the Ministers agreed to consider UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as a possible means to sustainable and responsible tourism development.
The Ministers noted the recommendations made at the ASEAN Workshop on Crisis Management and Communication held in February 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, including initiating dialogue with international tourism organisations on the standardisation of the Tourism Crisis Manual and Standard Operating Procedures.
The Ministers expressed their appreciation to Malaysia for its support in completing the publication of The Magical Gardens of ASEAN, to promote ASEAN Parks & Gardens and take note of the progress made in developing the ASEAN Ecotourism Strategic Plan which serves as an effective tool in promoting sustainable economic development through the conservation of nature based tourism in the region.
The Ministers commended the enhancement of ASEAN Air Connectivity through the implementation of the ASEAN Open Skies agreement as well as the progress in engaging ASEAN Dialogue Partners in air services negotiation, including China, the European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea. During the Q&A session, ministers also announced that road and land transportation will also be eased for travelers that prefer to travel by cars, buses and cruises.
Officials will also work on development of the ASEAN Common Visa for non-ASEAN nationals and its possible implications on the tourism sector.
A progress made in the ASEAN-Russia collaboration including the implementation of the Russian Language Course for ASEAN Tour Operators, tourism safety and security activities.
During the Thirteenth Meeting of the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) Tourism Ministers, the Ministers were pleased with international visitor arrivals of 230 million to the ASEAN Plus Three region which is a 4% increase over 2012. Noting the strong potential of intra-regional arrivals, the Ministers agreed to further strengthen joint tourism promotion collaboration in line with the APT Tourism Cooperation Work Plan 2013-2017. This Work Plan encompasses quality tourism, skills development, joint tourism marketing and promotion, cruise tourism and tourism crisis communications through the establishment of e-Tourism Working Group.
The ASEAN Tourism Ministers expressed appreciation to China for the provision of complimentary booths during the China International Travel Mart (CITM) 2013, and the development of ASEAN Tourism documentaries, Taste Southeast Asia and Discovery Southeast Asia aired on CCTV.
At the closing remarks, it was announced that the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2014, themed: ASEAN: Advancing Tourism Together, successfully garnered the participation of 462 international buyers and 879 sellers with 353 exhibitors as well as 75 hosted media.
ATF 2015 will be convened in Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar, in January 2015 with the theme, ASEAN Tourism Towards Peace, Prosperity and Partnership. The Philippines have confirmed that they will be the host nation for ATF 2016.