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Monday, June 17, 2024

ASEAN Tourism Reopens Amid Renewed Challenges

This Week

ASEAN tourism ministers announced the reopening of tourism in the region at the close of the ASEAN Tourism Forum held in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

During the forum, tourism ministers from each ASEAN nation revealed their shared strategy to boost regional tourism recovery.

The region has seen a decline in tourism of over 200%, with the Covid-19 pandemic causing the loss of millions of jobs and business closures due to stringent travel restrictions, TTR Weekly reports.

At the forum, ministers highlighted the need to quickly launch domestic tourism campaigns in each of the ten countries, as well as easing border controls to encourage regional tourism among ASEAN member states.

Tourism ministers and representatives at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022
Tourism ministers and representatives at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022.

Member countries proposed the establishment of dedicated ASEAN travel gates at border checkpoints as well as shared digital vaccination cards in a format recognized by all ten countries.

At the same time, ministers emphasized the need to ensure tourism operators are compliant with ASEAN hygiene and safety guidelines.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, announced the adoption of the New ASEAN Tourism Logo and ASEAN Safe Travel Stamp “Safe and Warm” as part of the plans to support tourism recovery.

Despite optimistic reopening declarations, however,  experts say strict travel restrictions continue to hinder the revival of tourism in several ASEAN nations, including Laos, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

While tourism ministers have counted on a resumption of travel from China, Japan, and Korea in the next six months, China has yet to make a move signaling it will allow outbound travel in the near future.

According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism arrivals around the world are not expected to return to their pre-pandemic levels until 2024 at the earliest.

“The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates, and traveler confidence,” the UNWTO said in a press release.

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