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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    30 July 2012

Indonesian tourism firms seek Asean visa


The Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies has urged 10 nations in Southeast Asia to work more closely together in preparation for the opening of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

The Jakarta-based association, comprising 1,700 members nationwide, considers the single market of 650 million people in 2015 as a business opportunity for all in the tourism industry. Despite similar tourism products, the countries will not be rivals. In fact, foreign tourists will come not only to one country, but also to others at the same time.

Besides such travellers flowing across the region itself, there will be big markets such as China with 1.3 billion people and India with more than 1 billion, providing plenty of opportunities for the AEC market.

Bagus Sudibya, the association's president, said on 26 July at the monthly meeting of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) that members should plan for a joint operation, especially for a single Asean visa.

The government should push the initiative ahead as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have recently collaborated to launch their own single visa.

Indonesia eyeing Thailand
Indonesia has the biggest population and economy in Asean. The country, especially its private sector, is now getting ready for the AEC.

Bagus is looking for ways to improve ties in the tourism industry with Thailand.

It's likely he will ask his government to spare a portion of its promotional budget to promote Indonesia here.

The country sets aside an annual budget of US$65 million (2 billion baht) to market it in key source countries including Singapore, Malaysia, China and Japan.

In Indonesia, tourism ranks as the fourth-largest contributor to gross domestic product, with $8 billion in revenue last year. About 12 million Indonesians take overseas trips and their number will increase dramatically, thanks largely to GDP growth of 5-7 per cent per year in the past decade.

Also, the middle-income group is growing and should reach 20-25 per cent of the 225-million population.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattana-porn, ATTA's president, said Indonesia was a big market for Thai tourism.

The government should go on a roadshow to this market to promote the country and more man-made tourism attractions should be constructed.

About 40,000 Indonesians come to Thailand annually, though some data released by Thai agencies put that number as high as 300,000.

Arrivals remain small because of a lack of a promotional campaign and local-language tour guides.

About 20,000 Thais travel to Indonesia per year, mainly to Bali.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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