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ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 concludes

ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 concludes
~ This year's edition of the ASEAN Tourism Forum finally drew to a close.

The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 (ATF 2024), the largest tourism trade event in Southeast Asia, officially concluded with a closing ceremony at the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel in Vientiane, Laos on the evening of Jan 26. The ceremony featured a symbolic gavel handover from the Minister of Information Culture and Tourism (MICT) of Lao PDR, H.E. Madam Suanesavanh Vignaket, to the Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) Malaysia, Dato’ Roslan Tan Sri Abdul Rahman, to signify Malaysia being the host country for the next ATF in 2025. The event also saw the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) and William Angliss Institute Australia, as well as between ASEANTA and PT Ruang Raya Indonesia, on collaborative efforts in tourism development and promotion within the industry.

 

ATF 2024, held in Vientiane, Laos, focussed on advancing sustainable tourism in the ASEAN region. It demonstrated a commitment to eco-friendly practices and responsible travel. ATF 2024 not only highlighted the diverse tourism offerings of ASEAN countries but also served as a platform for in-depth discussions on sustainable tourism. This emphasis aligns with the preferences of post-pandemic travellers, who increasingly prioritise responsible and ethical travel choices.


ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 concludes
~ MoU signing and exchange at the closing ceremony of ATF 2024.

TRAVEX

This year's TRAVEX, part of ATF 2024 held at the Laos ITECC Exhibition Centre in Vientiane, Laos, marked a significant milestone in the event's growth. ASEANTA President, Eddy Krismeidi Soemawilaga emphasised the collaboration between MICT, ASEANTA, and MP Singapore in addressing challenges and improving the consistency of TRAVEX. The event, which included 107 full delegates, 101 co-delegates, 34 booths, 70 buyers, 26 media representatives, and 130 trade visitors, focussed on "Quality and Responsible Tourism – Sustaining ASEAN Future." Modifications included expanding the ASEAN Tourism Conference to a two-day event with 34 invited speakers, aiming to accelerate the growth of ASEAN tourism.

 


ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC)

The ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) kicked off on Jan 25. The conference brought together speakers to discuss various topics related to tourism and sustainability. Some of the sessions included "Making sustainability sexy – how do you market sustainability?" with speakers like Catherine Germier-Hamel, Michael Massey, and Tom Chanthaphone, moderated by CNN's Kristie Lu Stout. Another session covered "Practical tips on how to use TikTok for tourism" by popular travel influencer Ariel Koh, and there was a discussion on "Using adventure travel to drive sustainable tourism" by Hannah Pearson and Inthy Deuansavanh. Additionally, there was a session titled "I’m a Pilot… Ask Me Anything!" featuring AirAsia's Captain Cecylia Sandryna and Senior First Officer Giorgi Reyhan Adine Nugroho. These were just some of the engaging sessions at the ATC, which took place over two days at the ATF.

 


27th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers

In conjunction with ATF 2024, Tourism Ministers from ASEAN nations gathered in Vientiane to discuss enhancing and promoting responsible tourism in Southeast Asia. Under Suanesavanh’s guidance, they explored ideas for better flight connections within ASEAN and addressed the impact of the pandemic, deliberating on strategies to tackle the shortage of tourism workers. The meeting emphasised the commitment to promoting tourism responsibly, considering environmental well-being and local communities. Ministers reviewed positive recovery trends post-pandemic and assessed progress on the tourism plan extending until 2025. These, among many other matters discussed.


ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 concludes
~ Symbolic gavel handover by Madam Suanesavan to Dato’ Rosli.

ASEAN TOURISM AWARDS 2024

The annual ASEAN Tourism Awards, also held in conjunction with ATF 2024, celebrated places and organisations providing excellent tourism experiences. Vietnam won 25 awards, including the ASEAN Green Hotel Award and ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Awards. For Malaysia, a total of 20 tourism businesses and stakeholders were recognised. Sarawak's Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) was one of the proud winners in the ASEAN MICE Venue Standard (Exhibition Venue) (2024-2026) category, alongside Sabah International Convention Centre (Sabah), Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (Kuala Lumpur), Setia Spice Convention Centre (Pulau Pinang), and Setia City Convention Centre (Selangor).

 


Malaysia at ATF 2024

Malaysia's significant participation in ATF 2024 is underscored by its forthcoming role as the host for the 2025 edition in Johor. The nation, having previously hosted the 2014 ATF in Kuching, showcased its cultural richness at the Malaysia Night event in the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel.

 

Malaysia's delegation to ATF 2024, led by Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, has a mission to promote sustainable development. Their objectives included increasing and stimulating ecotourism in the region, sharing best practices for sustainability, and preserving existing ecotourism efforts while involving local communities in these initiatives.

 

Meanwhile, Malaysia's dedicated booth at TRADEX featured sustainable tourism offerings and traditional handicrafts by KARYANEKA, complemented by individual booths from Sabah Tourism Board and Tourism Selangor.

 

At this juncture, BorneoTalk would like to record our thanks and appreciation to the organisers of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 for hosting us at the prestigious trade show in Vientiane, Laos. It was truly a splendid opportunity to discover the many facets of the tourism industry and offerings in the fascinating destination that is Laos, from the unique culture and food, to the breathtaking nature that offers the opportunity for adventures like nowhere else.


Malaysian delegation at the Malaysia Pavilion
~ Malaysian delegation at the Malaysia Pavilion.

Future of ASEAN Tourism

ATF 2024 commenced in Vientiane on Jan 24 with the aim of promoting quality and responsible tourism in the post-pandemic era to stimulate regional growth. The event was graced by Deputy Prime Minister of Laos, Prof. Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, Madam Suanesavanh, Dato Sri Tiong, ministers from other ASEAN countries, the Minister of Tourism from Timor Leste, and other delegates. This year marked the third time that the government of Laos hosted the ASEAN Tourism Forum, having previously done so in 2004 and 2013.

 

Taking place during the ongoing recovery of the tourism industry in ASEAN Member States, the Asia-Pacific region, and the international arena gradually rebounding from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the theme “Quality and Responsible Tourism - Sustaining ASEAN Future” reflects the aspiration to ensure the development of sustainable tourism in ASEAN. The goal is to make it robust, efficient, and effective at the highest level while encouraging regional and global tourists to spend more time in the ASEAN region.

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