ASEAN has launched a major tourism campaign to mark the Southeast Asian bloc’s golden jubilee.
Officially unveiled this week by Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and ASEAN Secretary General, Le Luong Minh, at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Singapore, the VisitASEAN@50 campaign is aiming to promote the ASEAN region as a single tourism destination.
The overall targets are to raise tourist arrivals to the region to 121 million by end of 2017, boost tourism receipts to US$83 billion, and increase average length-of-stay to 6-7 days by encouraging tourists to travel to at least two ASEAN countries on each visit.
Fifty tour packages have been created across the 10 member ASEAN member states, and the campaign is being supported by AirAsia.
In his speech, Prime Minister Lee called for better connectivity within Southeast Asia and urged fellow member countries not to shy away from “less glamorous” tourism development tasks, such as building new infrastructure, improving training and reducing red tape. Specifically he said he would like to see enhanced air and cruise links within the region, as well as joint work to improve manpower skills.
The VisitASEAN@50 campaign comes at a time when Southeast Asian tourism is surging. Total visitor arrivals have risen from 42m in 2000 to 108m in 2015, according to numbers provided by the ASEAN Secretariat.
The proliferation of low-cost carriers, rising living standards in the region, and the proximity of mass markets such as China, have all contributed to the region’s tourism boom.