Tourism revival key in spurring economic growth in ASEAN

Published June 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


With economies reeling due to COVID19, the Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations’ (FATA) stressed the revival of tourism is key to spur economic recovery in the region.

FATA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang expressed confidence the tourism industry will be one of the first to recover adding that once tourism recovers, it will quickly become the catalyst for the revival of other affected sectors linked to the industry.

“Ensuring that the travel and tourism industry is the first to recover would mean instant activation of a wide range of related micro-economies. The impact from the tremendous growth of tourism in ASEAN will be an eye opener; creating curiosity and branding opportunities in international markets,” Liang said in a statement.

For his part, FATA secretary general and current Philippine Travel Agencies Association president Ritchie Tuaño said the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) for 2016 to 2025 remains their guidepost during the pandemic and beyond.

“We need to continue to position and brand ASEAN as a single market destination. Then, within each member state, sub-regional destinations and circuits must be promoted. FATA members will work with governments in the region to ensure that tourism survives during the pandemic while ensuring stakeholders readiness post COVID19,” Tuaño said.

FATA likened ASEAN, with its 622 million population as having the potential of the domestic tourism within Europe, China, and the United States.

Last year, tourist arrivals to the ASEAN region reached 133 million, 10 million ahead of the ATSP projection. This has translated to tourism playing a crucial role in economies within the region, contributing at least two percent to 14.50 percent to each members gross domestic product.

Liang said they are also banking on the ASEAN member state’s declaration of closer cooperation in the sharing of information and exchange of best practices, describing it as a boost to stakeholders and traveler’s confidence.

“It will further build resilience and prepare the region to effectively implement and manage sustainable tourism in the aftermath of a crisis,” he said.

On June 19, FATA is organizing an online forum dubbed “Way Forward for Tourism in ASEAN” which will have tourism government officials and national tourism organization heads from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines as resource speakers.

FATA, with more than 7,700 members, is crucial in addressing challenges and trends in the tourism industry within the ASEAN region.