ASEAN TOURISM FORUM (ATF) 14-18 January 2019 HA LONG, VIETNAM (Concluded) Report/ Photos: Saifuddin Ismailji

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For the 38th consecutive year in 2019, government officials, private sector in travel and tourism and international travel media had gathered on a stage set in a place that boast one of the World’s 7 Natural Wonders, to channel greater domestic and international tourism dollar into the region, comprising of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The ATF 2019 Host Committee Vietnam National Administration of Toursm (VNAT) and Travex Secretariat TTG Events successfully showcased the thematic “ASEAN – The Power of One”, which concluded a productive and memorable Event, participated by 1500 delegates including buyers and travel media from 53 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, CHINA PR, France, Germany, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand. About 10,000 one-to-one appointments were exchanged between exhibiting companies and buyers. (http://vietnamtourism.gov.vnwww.ttgasiamedia.com/ttg_events)

While the travel industry engage in business at TRAVEX – the world’s largest ASEAN destination product and service showcase, connecting buyers and media representatives from around the world; the ASEAN National Tourism Organizations (ASEAN NTOs) revealed their collective efforts in marketing initiatives to inspire travel to Southeast Asia.
“This is the first time that ASEAN has shared their marketing work plans and direction, since the adoption of the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (or “ATMS”) 2017-2020. Collectively, we aim to promote multi-country travel within this region, positioning Southeast Asia as a single destination,” said Mr John Gregory Conceicao, Executive Director, International Relations, Market Planning and Oceania, Singapore Tourism Board, who represented the Chair of ASEAN Tourism Competitiveness Committee (ATCC).

Within the framework of ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025, ASEAN NTOs developed the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS) 2017-2020 as a guideline to embark on marketing activities during the stated period. The objective of the ATMS is to build awareness of Southeast Asia as a unique, sustainable and inclusive tourism destination, with a focus on digital marketing and partnerships.

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The target geographic segments are intra-ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, India, Europe, USA, Australia and Middle East. Southeast Asia’s unique culinary, wellness, culture, heritage, nature and adventure tourism products being looped-in over the course of the ATMS period.

Main marketing activities in 2018 included engaging a marketing agency for the first time to support social media strategies and online promotion, as well as collaborating with strategic partners such as AirAsia and TTG in several ASEAN-related campaigns. Promotions in China, Japan and Korea were supported by the ASEAN-China Centre, ASEAN-Japan Centre and ASEAN-Korea Centre respectively, whereby in Australia and India marketing programs were assisted by the ASEAN Promotional Chapter for Tourism in Australia and India in the respective markets.

Future plans for 2019 include revamping the ASEAN tourism website, launching integrated marketing campaigns with partners, establishing more like-minded partnerships, as well as strengthening existing collaborations.The overall marketing efforts is intended to raise awareness of the diversity of the ASEAN region and ASEAN Tourism brand. The ASEAN Tourism logo will be used as the main promotional logo for marketing purposes.

DESTINATION ASEAN
ASEAN countries offers an easy access to some of the most vibrant, breathtaking landscapes and diverse culture in the world. There is an endless list of itineraries for you to choose from adventure travel, leisure, medical or wellness and religious tourism packages including mountain, beach, nature, wildlife, culture, heritage, pilgrimage, health & wellness festivals and celebrating life at high-end resort holidays.
Each ASEAN member NTO provided latest update on the subsequent country’s tourism potential, summarized as under:

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Viet Nam
The host country was recently awarded the “Asia’s Leading Destination 2018” and “Asia’s Best Golf Destination 2018” by World Travel Awards and World Golf Awards respectively. The S-shaped peninsula borders with China, Laos and Cambodia, and faces the East Sea. The country’s two major deltas of the Red River and Mekong as well as 4 distinctive mountainous zones, each possess its own unique features.
Viet Nam recorded the highest growth among ASEAN countries and achieved 20% increase in tourism arrivals in 2018. The country earmarked “Visit Vietnam 2019 – Nha Trang, KhanhHoa” to promote the nation’s cultural and coastal assets. Vietnam recorded a total of 15.5 million tourists in 2018 and target ETA 18 million tourists – a rise of 17.5%.
At the Press Briefing the VNAT announced the launching of Mobile Web Form App, which will provide Viet Nam tourism info on fingertips www.vietnamtourism.gov.vn/english
The venue of ATF 2019 – Ha Long (meaning Descending Dragon) comprises of 1960 islets, clustered around an area of 1,533 sq.kms., each hammered through a process of nature’s forces of erosion since 500 million years, as it stands today in a form of different geometrical shapes of varying size.
Some 200 overnight cruise liners ply the bay area and more boats offers day trip around the core of the Bay encircled by about 775 islets in an area of 334 sq.kms. Athena Group (including its luxury Signature Cruises featuring plush suites with balcony) and Indochina Sails has earned high repute for its immaculate services. www.athenacruise.com,
www.indochinasails.com

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