Malaysia booth during the last edition of ITB Berlin played host on Thursday at the official pre-launch of “Visit ASEAN@50 Golden Celebration” campaign. The event was announced in presence of the Minister of Tourism of Malaysia, Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz, of Thailand Minister of Sports and Tourism, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Cambodia Vice Minister of Tourism So Mara as well as ambassadors, heads of NTOs and dignitaries of the ASEAN region.
“ASEAN is a very important region for the world economywith a huge potential. They are over 620 million people living in the region while our 10 countries welcome some 110 million of international visitors”, said Katrina Leung, Executive Director of Messe Berlin in Singapore.
According to So Mara, Vice Minister of Tourism in Cambodia and also Vice Chairman of ASEAN Tourism Marketing and Communication Working Group, the region hopes to attract during this special “VisitASEAN@50” some 121 million by 2017 and generate revenues of US$83 billion during the year. “We achieved a growth in total arrivals of over 5% last year and we hope to even do better in 2016 and 2017”, stressed So Mara.
“We hope to achieve this target with our ten ASEAN national tourism organisations jointly developing a tourism program under the campaign theme “Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration”. Our objective is not only of commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN but also of embracing ASEAN as a single and united tourism destination”, added the Vice Minister.
Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration will highlight ASEAN’s best 50 festivals and 50 most unforgettable travel experiences, whereby visitors will enjoy a wide range of ASEAN tourism products highlighting the diversity of destinations, of ASEAN gastronomy, of festivals and events. “It will also strengthen engagements of visitors with local communities”, continued So Mara.
Special offers and travel promotions with affiliated partners will be rolled out for travellers to enjoy the richness of cultural, heritage, nature, and to feel the warmth of ASEAN hospitality stressed So Mara. The coming campaign wants also to encourage visitors to link together two to three countries within ASEAN and extend the average length of stay from 5 to 6/7 days.
“We certainly should work out the creation of more common products. In fact, I believe that Malaysia would greatly benefit from the setting of multi-country tours, especially involving heritage. I am thinking about Peranakan culture in the western part of Southeast Asia or a route linking together UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as Historical Mosques in the region”, envisioned Malaysian Minister of Tourism Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz.
Thailand is also looking at benefiting of the newly shaped ASEAN Communauty. “Our aim is to turn Thailand into the central connectivity point of the region. This will take shape as we continue to improve land border crossing with our neighbours while airlines offer new regional flights. Our government is deeply committed to make ASEAN connectivity a reality”, said Thailand Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
“Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration” will major regional and long-haul source markets with special emphasis given to China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, UK, Germany, Russia, the UAE, USA and Canada.
“The coming campaign will help strengthening ASEAN identity around the world as it is likely to create higher trade and media awareness on ASEAN Tourism. We hope that Visit ASEAN@50 Campaign will bring world travellers and ASEAN even closer than before”, concluded So Mara.