Singapore prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and ASEAN secretary general, Le Luong Minh, have officially launched the [email protected] Golden Celebration tourism campaign.
The campaign promotes the twin objectives of commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, and embracing the ASEAN region as a single and united tourism destination.
Ahead of its launch, ASEAN tourism ministers agreed that the objectives of the campaign were to raise tourist arrivals to the region to 121 million by end of 2017, up from 108 million in 2015.
Tourism officials also hope to boost tourism receipts to USD83 billion and increase average length of stay to six or seven days by encouraging tourists to travel to at least two ASEAN countries on each visit.
Fifty special tour packages – carefully selected by the ten member countries of ASEAN—are the main draw of the tourism campaign, which is supported by globally recognised companies such as Mastercard and AirAsia.
The [email protected] campaign comes at a time when tourism has been a star performer in south-east Asia, rising from 42 million international arrivals to the region in 2000 to 108 million in 2015, according to numbers provided by the ASEAN Secretariat.
The proliferation of low cost airlines, rising living standards in the region and the proximity of mass markets such as China have turned tourism into a powerful workhorse, which now commands about 12.4 per cent of the ASEAN economy according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
In his speech, Lee called for better connectivity within south-east Asia and urged fellow member countries not to shy away from “less glamorous” tourism development tasks such as building new infrastructure, enhancing training and reducing red tape.
Specifically he said he would like to see ASEAN strengthen air links, boost cruise tourism and develop tourism’s human resource skills.
The Visit [email protected] campaign will run until December this year.