ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
One tourism destination will boost growth in ASEAN
PROMOTING ASEAN as a single tourism destination will boost growth in the region.
In a statement released at yesterday’s opening of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2016 (ATF 2016), Philippine Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr said promoting all member-countries of ASEAN as one destination may seem “undoable” because of the region’s archipelagic nature.
“But getting the industry to package tours covering three or more countries and involving land, sea and air transport could be the most exciting and attractive value proposition a tourist could get,” he said.
Bengzon, who also serves as Philippine Host Committee Chairman of ATF 2016, said making ASEAN a single tourism destination is in line with the goals of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
He cited the success of the ATF’s intra-travel campaign under the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015.
“ASEAN tourism integration would pave the way for the eventual operationalisation of the AEC through required points of connectivity,” he said, noting this will encourage entrepreneurship and create more jobs.
Bengzon said this is is the right time to start integrating the tourism industries of ASEAN member countries as the “dawn of a low cost fuel regime” will boost intra-regional travel.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said fuel accounts for 28 per cent of the airline industry’s operating costs. The IATA said declining oil prices have slashed fuel prices by 36 per cent.
“Representing some 260 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic, IATA projected improved profitability in 2015 compared with 2014, generally expanding capacity by an average of 6.2 per cent to match the projected 6.7 per cent rise in demand,” Bengzon said.
He also cited positive projections by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Despite concerns of China’s economic slowdown, the ADB’s growth forecast for Southeast Asia remains unchanged from its September 2015 update at 4.4 per cent in 2015 and 4.9 per cent in 2016.
Bengzon said an expanding regional economy will support ATF’s thrust of marketing ASEAN as one tourism destination and accelerate growth in the region’s tourism industry.
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