Tourists at the Merlion Park in Singapore (Source:http://www.straitstimes.com)
Singapore (VNA) – A campaign themed “Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration” to promote ASEAN as a single travel destination was launched at the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 in Singapore on January 18.

Addressing the event, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that ASEAN and the region’s tourism sector in particular is facing many challenges in an uncertain global environment.

However, he also pointed out opportunities for the bloc’s member nations to enhance cooperation and promotion activities in the field, stressing that intra-bloc tourism links are necessary to attract more foreign visitors to the region.

The ASEAN nations aim to increase the number of international arrivals to the region by 10 percent to 121 million in 2017, raking in 83 billion USD from tourism services.

During the forum, representatives from the group’s member countries discussed cooperation plans and initiatives to support each other in the field, focusing on fostering air links, cruise tourism development and high-standard perdonnel training.

The countries will continue promoting administrative reforms, especially those related to visa and immigration procedures, to create favourable conditions for tourists and facilitate investment in tourism.

Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu said the participants to the event debated how to turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector through tapping the potential of regional countries and the open legal policies of the ASEAN Community.

As an active member of the bloc, Vietnam has made efforts to develop tourism and call for investment in the field, Sieu stated, expressing his belief that Vietnam and ASEAN will become an attractive destination.
 
Along with the ASEAN National Tourism Organisations Meetings, the ASEAN Tourism Ministers' Meeting, and the ASEAN Tourism Conference, an annual tourism exhibition “TRAVEX 2017” will be arranged in the framework of the event.

Established in 1981, the annual ASEAN Tourism Forum is a platform for the region's tourism ministers, government officials and travel industry players to come together and discuss how to stimulate tourism growth.-VNA