The theme, ASEAN Advancing Tourism Together, chosen for the ATF2014 illustrates the benefits to host and guest by embracing responsible tourism as part of Southeast Asia’s connected visitor economy. It enforces the commitment of ASEAN Member States to work hand in hand to achieve the vision and goals of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015 and to support the timely realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
From 16 to 19 January 2014, PATA witnessed the holding of the meetings of the ASEAN NTOs and meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers, where important regional tourism initiatives and policies were considered and decided. PATA had the opportunity to present the PATA’s Five Year Visitor Arrival Forecast and announced the ‘PATA Loves ASEAN’ campaign in the meeting. Both of the presentations were well-received and appreciated by the Head of NTOs and Tourism Ministers.
Based on PATA’s five year forecast, visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region will continue to grow with an average annual growth rate of 6.2% over the period 2014-2018 and reach 660 million by 2018. Departures from China are predicted to increase from 94.8 million to 181.6 million over the forecasting period with an average growth rate of 17.7%. It will break through 100 million in 2015 for the first time. Forecasts for Southeast Asia reported that visitor arrivals will expand from 104.8 million in 2014 to 172.5 million in 2018.
During the ASEAN Tourism Ministers meeting, Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism and Culture Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz assured that officials from ASEAN will continue to initiate capacity building to meet the specified ASEAN Economic Community standards and facilitate their full implementation by 2015.
On long term commitments, the ministers agreed to pursue an immediate implementation of the framework, approaches, parameters and measures on climate change and tourism in ASEAN.
In summary, the key agenda items were discussed in the meeting were:
· FACILITATION OF TOURISM PROFESSIONALS MOBILITY
· WORLD CLASS TOURISM QUALITY
· PROMOTING ASEAN TOURISM
· ASEAN TOURISM PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
· ENHANCING CONNECTIVITY
· PROMOTING ASEAN TOURISM IN MAJOR MARKETS
· THIRTEENTH MEETING OF ASEAN PLUS THREE (APT)
In this regard, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, speaking at the launching of the 33rd ASEAN Tourism Forum at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building, said that the future tourism growth potential for ASEAN was brighter than global averages. Inbound tourism to Southeast Asia is projected to register an increase of 5.1% per annum, which is higher than global average annual growth rates of 3.3% for the period 2010 to 2030.
“This reflects the dynamism and attractiveness of ASEAN countries as a tourist region,” Najib said.
PATA’s mission statement on the LOVE campaign is to promote and recognise the travel and tourism stakeholders who sustain and contribute to responsible tourism. The association also wants to increase the general public acknowledgement on the importance of tourism.
Tourism fosters employment opportunities, improves services and infrastructure, informs and educates people, and preserves culture, heritage and the environment. Tourism is also an invaluable contributor to the well-being of local communities.
In 2013, PATA highlighted the importance of tourism as a main driver of the ‘Complete Visitor Economy’ (CVE) - a way to redefine tourism’s economic contribution economies in a broader sense than the simpler term of tourism or events-related to tourism. Visitor economies include a wide range of businesses that benefit from the direct and indirect economic activity generated to provide goods and services to overnight visitors.
The growth of tourism, however, cannot be taken for granted. The ‘PATA Loves ASEAN’ campaign will be connected with major travel stakeholders (public and private) and will share its vision with the world.
It’s essential we have a vision to work towards a responsible future for travel. Therefore, there’s something really special about the PATA Loves Campaign. It’s a campaign to PROMOTE, RECOGNISE and ENGAGE with PATA’s members beyond expressing our love for a sustainable future for travel and tourism.