The Jakarta Post
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region is at a crossroads. With an average growth rate of more than 6 percent last year, the region has achieved remarkable economic success recently and now accounts for 10 percent of combined Asian GDP. What about its tourist industry?
With impressive economic growth, plenty of resources and top tourist attractions, today the ASEAN is in a better position to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day with joy and pride as its tourist industry has been enjoying double-digit growth in recent years.
ASEAN, the 10 nations of which reflect a world of wonders and diversity, has numerous world-class tourist destinations. With tourist paradises like Bali, Phuket, Langkawi and Singapore, historic monuments like Borobudur, Prambanan and Angkor Wat, the modern Petronas twin towers, pristine beaches and friendly people, ASEAN is indeed Asia’s “Perfect 10 Paradise”.
Around 73 million tourists – 47 percent or 34 million of them from intra-ASEAN travel – visited ASEAN countries in 2010, an 11 percent increase from 65 million tourists in 2009. This huge intra-ASEAN travel indicates that the region is on the right track to establish an ASEAN Community in the years to come.
“As part of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015, the member countries are now jointly promoting the whole region to attract tourists from non-ASEAN countries.
The tourism industry will grow further after the implementation of regional connectivity plan,” ASEAN deputy secretary-general for ASEAN Economic Community Pushpanathan Sundram said recently.
The CEO of the region’s leading budget carrier, Air Asia X, an affiliate of Malaysia’s Air Asia, Azram Osman-Rani, is optimistic about future growth in ASEAN tourism.
“We are a big believer in ASEAN. We want to promote ourselves as an ASEAN airliner,” Azram said recently in Singapore.
The Air Asia group, Azram said, wants to build its brand “Truly ASEAN” and recruit cabin crew from the 10 ASEAN countries.
Regional tourism stakeholders under the banner of ASEAN Tourism Forum recently launched the ambitious regional tourism campaign called “Southeast Asia: Feel the Warmth” to boost tourism.
ASEAN members also have different tourism marketing slogans, such as Vietnam’s a Different Orient, the Philippines’ So Beautiful, Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You, Malaysia Truly Asia and Uniquely Singapore. What about Indonesia? Indonesia’s tourism slogans are “Wonderful Indonesia”, Indonesia Ultimate in Diversity and My Indonesia – Just a Smile Away.