Asean tourism forum to promote single region

Asean tourism forum to promote single region

Mr Pongpanu (second from right) aims to promote regional tourism at ATF 2018.
Mr Pongpanu (second from right) aims to promote regional tourism at ATF 2018.

Tourism ministers and business leaders from Southeast Asia are ready to collaborate to accelerate sustainable tourism development in the region to promote Asean as a single destination.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry will host the 37th Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018 in Chiang Mai during Jan 22-26.

The forum is expected to bring together more than 2,000 participants in tourism and related industries from Asean nations, including ministers, heads of national tourism organisations and business entities.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary for tourism and sports, said the event will underscore Thailand's tourism potential and provide the grounds for collaboration to accelerate sustainable tourism development in the region.

It will also help promote Asean as a "Single Tourism Destination" to attract more visitors from around the globe, Mr Pongpanu said.

The event provides a significant platform to underline the high potential for tourism in Thailand and other Asean countries to the rest of the world, especially partners such as China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and India.

Apart from topics on regional development, the forum will feature bilateral meetings between dialogue partners, meetings for Asean sellers and buyers from Europe, the Americas and Asia, and conferences for the meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition sector.

The popular Travel Exchange trade fair will be held in parallel with ATF, he said.

The forum is an integral stage to seek further collaboration within the region to enhance inclusive development of Asean tourism.

Several key issues have been outlined for collaboration, such as gastronomy tourism, cruise tourism, and community-based tourism.

In line with the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan, the forum emphasises the promotion of sustainable and inclusive tourism in the region.

This conforms to the World Tourism Organization's International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development and the Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 campaign.

ATF is an annual tourism event first held in 1981 in Malaysia.

Under the Asean Framework Agreement, Asean countries will take turns each year to host the event in alphabetical order.

Thailand has hosted ATF six times -- 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2008.

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