The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one tourist destination. ATF is a platform for all ASEAN Member States to build a stronger and more powerful position on the world stage with meaningful initiatives that boost tourism growth while preserving unique and collective heritage, identity and culture for the next generation to experience. ATF is one of the most significant annual tourism promotional events in Asia and is hosted on a rotational basis among the ASEAN member countries. The fair is made up of numerous high-level events, including a meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, a meeting of the ASEAN NTOs, as well as airline meetings, press briefings, a tourism conference, and the popular Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) trade fair. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member states of ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) component is a trade-only mart that showcases the world's largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services, and facilitates selling, buying and promoting the region internationally. Vietnam has become a dynamic and prominent tourist destination that attracts visitors with its special values in culture and history, beautiful natural sceneries, friendly and hospitable people. In the ASEAN community, Vietnam’s tourism is closely linked with other member countries, aiming at prosperity and sustainable development, he said.Vietnam is finalizing the preparation and ready for the meeting of over 1,000 delegates including tourism officials and travel package providers from the 10 ASEAN member countries and worldwide.
ASEAN has also been working with other Asian countries to establish solutions to resolving problems and disputes in the region. While the ASEAN focuses mainly on the Asia-Pacific countries, it also formed communications with other nations in various parts of the world with the aim of promoting stability and world peace. That is why the organization is highly reputed globally due to its constant effort of promoting diplomacy and goodwill among different countries, fighting biased decision making, and supporting the code of non-interference. Most people describe the countries in their region as "fiercely competitive." But upon closer look, one realizes that the more the countries of ASEAN compete, the more that they all tend to gravitate towards growth. Their region is characterized by coopetition—a cooperative, collaborative decision by all players to compete with each other so that the world will choose the region before choosing the country. Their countries become, in very real terms, each other’s value extension—they become each other’s developing markets. And to make this development last for their children, they have to make certain that they are mindful of the social and environmental context that their region’s growth exists in.
Most Important Asean Tourism Forum Success Factors
ATF should focus on such priorities as developing ASEAN into a common destination of high quality and unique cultural identity, boosting intra-regional tourism, enhancing cooperation and mobilization of resources to invest in infrastructure, product development, human resource training, expanding markets, facilitating tourists in accessing destinations, ensuring security and safety for visitors, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam. The ATF conference last week explored a number of key themes including sustainable
tourism industry development, the promotion of innovative energy initiatives and how to best ensure the conservation, preservation, and protection of ASEAN’s natural environment remained a priority. For APAC Division, this is a very convenient show to gather with some of their current clients and to touch base with potential travel companies looking for low-cost yet effective online solutions to enhance sales and brand awareness.
Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries. ATF was established in 1981. Hosted on a rotational basis by the respective ASEAN member countries, the annual event serves as a platform for the ASEAN tourism industry to exchange ideas and insights to further accelerate the growth of tourism in the ASEAN region. ATF comprises Meetings of ASEAN Tourism Ministers and leaders from ASEAN National Tourism Organizations, ASEAN Airlines Meeting, ASEANTA Board Meeting and Annual General Meeting, media briefings and TRAVEX, a travel exchange platform. The ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy has the vision of building awareness of Southeast Asia as a unique and sustainable tourism destination. The objective of this vision is to develop an integrated and digitally-focused marketing action plan with a strategic implementation process based on collective programs with industry partnerships. It also seeks to promote regional visitor experiences that meet the development needs of the member countries.
Every year´s event, with the theme, concentrated on the exploration of the sustainable development of tourism with a focus on how ASEAN can further support its mantra: "Tourism conserves, Preserves and Protects," through their tourism initiatives and plans.With the theme, it is expected to underline the strength and beauty of the 10 nations in ASEAN and the beauty of each individual in the community, towards a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive development goal. A wide range of activities will be held as part of the forum, including formal meetings between officials of ASEAN National Tourism Organization (NTO) and meetings between ASEAN tourism ministers and their counterparts from China, Japan, South Korea, and India. The ASEAN Tourism Forum event is going to be held in the month of January every year. By connecting in all aspects, they create economic and social opportunities for their people and would lead to a reduction in the development gap between all member countries. In addition, the border cities that are being administered to prevent and reduce negative impacts are the consequences of boundless economic connectivity and prosperity. The event also included a one-day conference in addition to Travex, a platform for International suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and international buyers to network and conduct business.
The event, the largest tourism forum of the ASEAN region, is rotated annually among the 10 ASEAN countries. Viet Nam is hosting the event for the second time, following the first one in 2009. The ATF is an opportunity for both the public and private sectors of the ASEAN tourism industry to get together and discuss issues and trends facing the industry. The event includes meetings of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers and national tourism organizations, meetings of ASEAN national tourism organizations with partners, conferences on ASEAN tourism, tourism trade fair TRAVEX, field trips for delegates and media. Other events include association meetings involving ASEAN Tourism Association, Federation of ASEAN Travel Association, ASEAN Airlines Association, and ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association, exhibition and business appointments seeking to facilitate the trade of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member states, and a tourism conference.
The event will afford Vietnam a chance to improve its role and stature in regional tourism cooperation and introduce the country’s natural beauty and people to international friends. Domestic travel agencies will be able to meet partners and well-known hospitality service providers from around the world. It is also the aim of the Host Country that through its high hospitality and infrastructural standards, it will successfully demonstrate its capabilities and be recognized as one of ASEAN’s most attractive destinations, complete with world-class facilities and services to make an even greater impact on its already impressive touristic appeal. Other events include association meetings involving the ASEAN Tourism Association, the Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations, the ASEAN Airlines Association, and the ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association, exhibitions and business appointments seeking to facilitate the trade of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member states, and a tourism conference.
A wide range of activities will be held as part of the forum such as formal meetings between officials of ASEAN National Tourism Organization (NTO) and meetings between ASEAN tourism ministers and their counterparts from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India. All the events and the ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) will take place at the Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center. Close to 10,000 one-to-one appointments will take place between exhibiting companies and buyers, ensuring that ATF TRAVEX continues to place a priority on business generation. All exhibitors and buyers have had up to 100% of their appointments scheduled prior to arriving in Ha Long.The three-day ATF TRAVEX will include 75 official sessions and a number of sideline activities including pre- and post-show tours, and a gala dinner, a golf tournament and a farewell party for delegates. The event will provide Vietnam a chance to improve its role and stature in regional tourism and introduce the country’s natural beauty and people to international friends. Domestic travel agents will have the chance to meet partners and hospitality service providers from around the world, said the VNAT.
Ha Long city, the capital of the surrounding Quang Ninh province and the gateway to world-renowned Ha Long Bay, is all set to welcome some 1500 international delegates. A picture of northern old-world charm alongside new world developments, delegates can experience both vibrant street life and modern pleasures in Ha Long. The bay is home to 1,969 stone islands and grottoes that tell stories of earth’s evolution. With rich tropical marine eco-systems, the alluring emerald waters and the illusion of changing shapes and hues at different times of the day guarantee unique experiences with every visit. ASEAN countries offer easy access to some of the most vibrant, breathtaking landscapes and diverse cultures in the world. There is an endless list of itineraries for you to choose from adventure travel, leisure, medical or wellness and religious tourism packages including mountain, beach, nature, wildlife, culture, heritage, pilgrimage, health & wellness festivals and celebrating life at high-end resort holidays.Minister of culture, sports, and tourism of Vietnam, H E Nguyen Ngoc Thien, said, “The people of Quang Ninh province are ready to welcome delegates and guests. They are honored to host ATF and look forward to inviting all visitors to experience the natural beauty and warmth of their people. They are ready to embrace all ASEAN states to drive connectivity and sustainable tourism to Vietnam and the region as one.”
Other issues discussed during the four-day meetings included the facilitation of tourism professional's mobility across the region, developing higher quality tourism, promoting ASEAN tourism and tourism products in major markets and enhancing connectivity and coordination. Issues and challenges surrounding the development and implementation of the ASEAN Common Visa for non-ASEAN nationals were also discussed, and officials were encouraged to work closely with relevant agencies to facilitate the ASEAN Common Visa’s development. One of the primary highlights of the conference was Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), an annual 3-day business event featuring 450 booths run by over 350 exhibitors marketing regional individual tourism products from the ASEAN Member States to hundreds of international buyers who attended the event.
TRAVEX is set to take place in the month of January, providing a platform for selling and buying regional and individual tourism products. It aims to make it convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business and meet participants through appointment on-site. The event is expected to draw 290 buyers and 610 sellers. The full-fledged ATF TRAVEX program comprises of 75 official sessions with complimentary pre-show tours generously catered for all delegates commenced on the first day. A total of 15 pre- and post-ATF tours will be held over 4 days. Itineraries include cruises of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay-Hai Phong City, as well as trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh Binh. The three-day ATF Travex 2019, which commences will aggregate 75 official sessions with the host country organizing numerous social activities and programs that include pre-and post-show tours in selected tourist attractions, an opening ceremony, welcome reception and dinner events, a friendly golf game and a farewell party for all ATF delegates.
How ASEAN is Promoting Tourism Among its Member Countries
Tourism is one of the economic and social sectors that promote peace, unity, and development in the world. ASEAN has been promoting tourism by establishing cooperation among Asian countries. Some of the organization’s member nations such as Vietnam are the world’s most sought-after travel destinations, and through the ASEAN many visitors from different parts of the world have been flying over to Southeast Asia. The organization has been working with the governments, especially the tourism ministries, to ensure impartial opinion and decision-making processes. The ASEAN member states institutionalized visa-free travel among the nations, which has led to the booming of the intra-ASEAN traveling. This action has formed a community of Asian countries, enhancing the trade and business integration in the region. According to a report published by the tourism ministries of the ASEAN member states, there were approximately 33 million out of 74 million tourists from the other Southeast Asian countries that are not members of the ASEAN organization.
In ASEAN, tourism is one of the major growth economic and social sectors, which has maintained resilient despite the economic challenges that have been witnessed over the decades. With the broad range of attraction sites in the region, there were over 80 million travelers to the Southeast Asia region in 2011. This figure represents a 30% increase in relative to the 62 million tourists that visited the same region in 2007. According to the GDP statistics of the ASEAN, the tourism sector is generating approximately 4.5% of the total GDP. Apart from generating the nations’ income, tourism ministries have employed about 10 million people, which is equivalent to 3.5 % of the total employment.
On the other hand, ASEAN tourism has also supported over 25 million employments indirectly. Additionally, the ASEAN has contributed about 8% of the region’s capital investment. The ministers of the ASEAN tourism called for a development marketing strategy in 2012, which was aimed at representing the agreement of National Tourism Organizations of the ASEAN on the ways of marketing for the ASEAN. Through the intergovernmental organization, the member states have been reaping the fruits of prosperity, peace, stability, and the general partnership.
ASEAN is a region full of diversity - languages, cultures, traditions, and people - but also with many things in common, such as the desire to grow in the tourism sector. ATF at its core recognizes that ASEAN is stronger and more compelling as one collective destination. The region offers countless exciting experiences in a seamless journey of different identities, an important proposition that has kept ASEAN’s appeal strong throughout the world. To meet the goal of best resource utilization, the focus is on an effective marketing plan for the organization, and for the first time, an agency is being engaged to get the agency’s message across in digital format. ASEAN plans to revamp its website this year to make it more consumer-centric. It is also the aim of the Host Country that through its high hospitality and infrastructural standards, it will successfully demonstrate its capabilities and be recognized as one of ASEAN’s most attractive destinations, complete with world-class facilities and services to make an even greater impact on its already impressive touristic appeal.
Another anticipated ATF component is the ASEAN Tourism Conference, where major regional issues are presented and discussed by subject experts and thought leaders. In keeping with the aim of strengthening co-operation among the ASEAN tourism industry’s various sectors, this knowledge platform promotes discussion, exchange of ideas and valuable perspectives to motivate progress among ASEAN stakeholders. Major highlights for exhibitors and buyers include 32 one-to-one business appointments, all of which can be scheduled prior to arrive in Ha Long, thus optimizing business conversations at the event. Moreover, the on-site Buyers-Meet-Sellers (BMS) event on the first day of TRAVEX provides an opportunity to fill any remaining slots. The forum, which is set to witness the participation of about 2,000 delegates from ASEAN and its partners, will continue today and tomorrow with the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting, ASEAN+3 Tourism Ministers Meeting, ASEAN-India Ministers Meeting and ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX). During the event, the ASEAN Tourism Awards will also be announced.
The ASEAN Tourism Forum is an annual cooperative regional effort to promote tourism in the ASEAN region and features participants from the tourism industry sector and representatives from each of the 10 ASEAN Member States. Other intra-regional meetings designed to complement the ATF meeting include the Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers and Meeting of ASEAN + 3 Tourism Ministers. Ministers have also historically worked closely with the ASEAN-China Center, ASEAN-Japan Center and ASEAN-Korean Center to develop and promote ASEAN tourism in those countries. Nearly 1,500 delegates are expected to congregate at the UNESCO World Heritage destination for meetings, business, and educational sessions as well as a three-day travel trade mart, held at the Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center. The travel exhibition – the largest showcase of ASEAN’s destination products and services – will bring together suppliers from the region and global buyers from 53 countries, including Australia, Azerbaijan, China, France, Germany, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Poland, and Russia.
The successful hosting and organization ATF will contribute to the effectiveness of ASEAN regional tourism cooperation, closely linking Vietnamese tourism to ASEAN. This is also an opportunity to enhance the position and image of Vietnam's tourism, introducing highlights and typical tourism products of Vietnam in general and Quang Ninh in particular, especially sea resorts, MICE tourism, and food tourism. The unique and specialized ATF TRAVEX makes it easy and convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business and meet quality participants through pre-scheduled business appointments that take place on-site. Both parties can maximize their participation through flexible one-to-one pre-scheduled meetings to explore, negotiate and ink deals with each other. As part of the event, the unique ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) will be held to make it easier and more convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business.
Future plans include revamping the ASEAN tourism website, launching integrated marketing campaigns with partners, establishing more like-minded partnerships, as well as strengthening existing collaborations. The overall marketing efforts are intended to raise awareness of the diversity of the ASEAN region and ASEAN Tourism brand. The ASEAN Tourism logo will be used as the main promotional logo for marketing purposes. They were extremely happy to participate in the ASEAN TOURISM FORUM in Vietnam and find new resorts in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to privatize for their clients. Great resorts and great people! Their clients will get to enjoy the best service level in the world along with their total privacy in their partner resorts. The future of ASEAN travel will be the focal point of industry conversation and opportunity at both official meetings and a travel exhibition (TRAVEX) at the ASEAN Tourism Forum.
Under the primary objective to promote the ASEAN region as one tourist destination where Asian hospitality and cultural diversity are at its best, specific objectives included:
Project ASEAN as an attractive, multi-faceted single destination
Create and increase awareness of ASEAN as a highly competitive regional tourist destination in the Asia Pacific
Attract more tourists to ASEAN member countries
Promote Intra-ASEAN travel
Strengthen cooperation among the various sectors of the ASEAN tourism industry