KUCHING: Asean countries need to strategise their way forward and implement measures to ensure that Southeast Asia would remain the world's most preferred tourist destination, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said here tonight.
He said tourist arrivals to Southeast Asia was projected to increase from 69.9 million in 2010 to 187 million in 2030.
"The increase in tourist arrivals will raise the global market share from 7.4 per cent in 2010 to 10.3 per cent in 2030. This reflects the dynamism of the attractiveness of Asean countries as a tourist region," he said in his speech to declare open the 33rd Asean Tourism Forum.
He said the theme, "Asean - Advancing Tourism Together", chosen for the forum was appropriate and timely as it reinforced the member states' commitment to work hand in hand to achieve the vision and goals of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015.
"We are on track to deliver the outcomes of the key strategic thrusts, namely developing experiential and innovative regional tourism products, implementing creative marketing and investment strategies, improving the quality of human resources, services and facilities, and enhancing travel facilitation and Asean connectivity," he said.
Najib said Malaysia had collaborated with the relevant agencies in implementing the Asean Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and conducted programmes nationwide to heighten public awareness on Asean's tourism objectives.
As a result, he said, Asean member states would reap the economic efficiencies from this free movement of skilled labour and professionals in tourism within the region.
"Additionally, the establishment of the Asean Promotional Chapter for Tourism (APCT) and creation of the Asean tagline, 'Southeast Asia, Feel the Warmth' have strengthened the joint tourism promotion activities among Asean member states," he said.
Najib said the APCT and the tagline had also raised the profile and value proposition of Southeast Asia as a tourist destination.
"To ensure long-term growth and sustainability of the tourism industry, the principles of responsible tourism need to be adhered to by all stakeholders, industry players and tourists," he added.
At the event, the pime minister also launched a coffee table book titled, "The Magical Gardens of Asean". Bernama
Source : NST, 21 Jan 2014