ASEAN sets out tourism objectives


Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have begun implementing a plan to boost tourism ahead of the onset of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.  

ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan and the ASEAN tourism ministers have endorsed the plan, which includes a range of initiatives such as the creation of a new website and digital promotional campaigns targeting the mass markets of China and India. ASEAN will also target niche markets such as adventure and business travel, as well as senior and long-stay visitors. It will also arrange special promotions for the cruise market.

The ASEAN Economic Community will launch in 2015
The ASEAN Economic Community will launch in 2015

“Our strategy is designed to help build global recognition of Southeast Asia as a competitive, world-class tourism destination,” said Dr Surin. “Our focus is on drawing visitors to the region and encouraging them to visit more than one country. As each has its own unique attractions, we will capitalise on the sophisticated marketing capacity and resources of our individual national tourism organizations to spread the word.”

ASEAN destinations attracted 81.2 million visitors in 2011, which marked an average increase of a million visitors each year for the last two decades. Three quarters of visitors to ASEAN destinations come from within Asia, including 47% from within ASEAN and 28% from other Asian markets. Europe is the next largest group of visitors (12%), followed by Oceania (5%) and the Americas (4%).

Under its strategy, niche and mass market promotions will go work in tandem. Chairman of the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Working Group, Sansern Ngaorungsi, who is also Deputy Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said; “While ASEAN’s niche, tactical campaigns will target sectors such as adventure, experiential, business and long-stay, and show the diversity of ASEAN, mass tourism demand for mainstream attractions is expected to keep growing and bring important economic benefits to ASEAN destinations.”

According to the UNWTO forecasts, annual international visitor arrivals to Southeast Asia will surge 130% to 187 million by 2030.
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