Southeast Asia tourism creates online platform

Guest Writer

24 Feb 10 (TravMedia.com): Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, January 29, 2010 - A new strategic alliance announced this week will give small and medium-sized tourism operators in ASEAN a powerful online presence, even if they do not have a website.

The initiative is the result of strategic collaboration between Creative Advances Technology (CAT) and the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA), both based in Kuala Lumpur, and the ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement Project (ACE), based in Bangkok. The new platform allows tourism players to go online and get new business for free.

The collaboration boosts ASEAN tourism business opportunities by putting operators’ travel packages on multiple travel trade and consumer online sites, including ASEANTA’s new SoutheastAsia.org portal which went live January 26.

The ASEANTA portal uses Standard Online Tourism Architecture (SOTA). SOTA utilizes networking linkages to connect travel businesses with potential customers, both trade and consumer. To date, SOTA connects over 900 travel agents and over 15,000 travel suppliers’ worldwide.

Through this electronic tourism platform, tourism players can be linked and networked within the industry more effectively. Hundreds of tourism players in ASEAN are expected to benefit from the collaboration.

“The online tourism industry continues to grow quickly as travel customers look for more convenient ways to research, plan, book and purchase their travel,” said Mr Rohizam Md Yusoff, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of SOTA. “With SOTA, ASEAN’s travel operators who are not online can now compete globally.”

Mr Yusoff said that there are thousands of travel agents in ASEAN but only a handful are active online.
“The ASEANTA portal and SOTA are perfect partners to provide one standard platform. SOTA allows travel operators to easily reach more customers, connect with tourism inventories throughout ASEAN, and obtain information such as the latest tourism statistics,” said Mr Yusoff.

Mr R.J. Gurley, ACE Project Director, said: “This far-reaching new collaboration will allow ASEAN tourism players to distribute and sell their great travel products in multiple participating websites and travel blogs and also the new SoutheastAsia.org meta-search site.”

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is also a supporter of the SOTA initiative. It will promote the SOTA platform to its members and through its global PATA Chapter network.

For further information visit www.sotanetwork.com.

About Creative Advances Technology Sdn Bhd (CAT)
CAT, based in Malaysia, is a leading provider of online tourism solutions. The company provides technology and consultancy services to a broad range of travel industry companies and organisations. With its creative content, innovative systems and reliable robust infrastructure, CAT provides cost-effective solutions for travel businesses intending to enter the global market. CAT has developed portals such as Tourism Malaysia, Virtual Malaysia, IMT-GT Tourism, BIMP Tourism & OIC Tourism - to name a few.

Following its experience in building portals and websites for over 900 travel industry agencies, associations and operators, CAT then developed the Standard Online Tourism Architecture or SOTA to become the one-stop e-tourism platform for technology, marketing and innovation. SOTA is a unique and innovative project initiated to promote travel products and services. SOTA currently enables over 15,000 travel operators and has been recently endorsed by PATA as the platform of choice for PATA’s members worldwide.

About the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA)
The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) was formed on 27th March 1971. ASEANTA is a non-profit tourism association comprising both public and private tourism sector organizations from ASEAN. ASEANTA has grown to become a tourism association of influence within the ASEAN tourism landscape, playing an integral role in shaping tourism development growth and policies in the ASEAN region. For further information visit www.aseanta.org.

About ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement (ACE)
ACE was designed and funded by USAID’s Regional Development Mission in Asia (RDMA), which is based in Bangkok. ACE’s objective is to enhance the integration and competitiveness imperatives of two of ASEAN’s priority sectors: travel & tourism and textiles & apparel. The ACE Project is part of the broader ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership which was launched in 2006, under which the United States pledged its support to ASEAN in pursuing its objective of becoming an ASEAN Community by 2015. The ACE Project is managed by Nathan Associates Inc. E-mail: rjgurley@ace-advance.com. Website: www.ace-advance.com.

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