Published on : Friday, January 20, 2017
The ASEAN hopes to increase its international tourist arrivals by 10% to 121 million, as said by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday at the ASEAN Tourism Forum held at the Shangri-La Hotel. Mr. Lee also suggested three ways to promote the region as a single, unified travel destination, .”
To quote Mr. Lee, “Tourism is one area where by working together, we can get win-win benefits, growing our economies, creating jobs, and drawing our peoples together. There is huge potential in tourism.” He added, “Because ASEAN countries have fast growing middle classes, and as our people become better off (and) more affluent, more of them want to travel to see the world. At the same time, ASEAN itself offers an enormous richness of attractions… That is why tourists from around the world want to visit Southeast Asia.” He said that member countries also need to work collectively for reducing barriers and red tapes and create a vibrant tourism industry.
ASEAN needs to strengthen its air links and come up with affordable and convenient air travel for driving tourism growth. Mr Lee said the cruise tourism sector also has immense possibility for development. To quote Mr. Lee, “ASEAN is well placed to promote cruise tourism. We have archipelagos to rival the Aegean, Caribbean, or South Pacific; year-round tropical weather, calm waters; diverse and attractive destinations within short sailing distances. But developing cruise tourism is a multi-lateral effort. We need to develop port infrastructure to receive bigger and newer ships and work with cruise providers to create attractive itineraries with multiple stops for tourists.” He also stressed on skills of workers and said that lots need to be done in the ASEAN.