ASEANTA seeks border reopening scheme hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: AFP)
Bangkok (VNA) – The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) will press for a border reopening scheme among the bloc’s10 member states at the 24th meeting of ASEAN tourism ministries on February 4.

The Bangkok Post quoted ASEANTA President Mingkwan Metmowlee as saying that the association, which includes the private sector and national tourism organisations (NTOs) of the 10 member states, will call for the resumption of tourism by the first or second quarter of this year as the industry is on the brink of collapse and needs urgent action.

More than 70 percent of tourism jobs in the region will be lost if the borders remain closed, but once tourism picks up, the region will face another crisis - a labour shortage, said Mingkwan.

ASEANTA suggested every country prepare for border reopening by drafting a regional framework for cross-border travel, standard operational procedures for the whole tourism ecosystem, and guidelines on testing and vaccination within the first quarter.

The association proposed that within the first half of the year, countries in Southeast Asia should start by considering business travellers from within the region, as well as China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, which are ASEAN's dialogue partners.

Mingkwan said the region can consider city-to-city travel agreements in the initial stage. For leisure tourists, 10 countries should support the resumption of all types of travel by October.

She added that the private sector in many countries, such as Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, agree with the digital health passport proposal as some of them have already invested in digital contact tracing mechanisms, such as MyTrace in Malaysia and TraceTogether in Singapore./.