KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — Member countries of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) should focus on reviving the regional tourism industry through intra-Asean tourism collaboration.
Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE), Sandiaga Uno, said it is crucial to revive the intra-regional activities, as it also plays a key role in revitalising the Asean countries’ tourism economies.
Citing Indonesia’s current strategy to start looking into domestic tourism, instead of focusing on getting international arrivals, he said it is timely for concerted efforts to be established.
“Accelerated by the pandemic, I think we have to look not only on Indonesia’s domestic potential of 200 million tourists, but it’s the 600-million Asean population that we should now focus and explore within the region.
“We need to push this effort forward because tourism could be the change ‘agent’ in this regard, “ said Sandiaga during a virtual webinar titled “Asean Tourism Webinar 2021: Outlook and Pathways to Recovery”, today.
Organised by CARI Asean Research and Advocacy, the webinar also featured Asean Economic Community deputy secretary-general Satvinder Singh, Asean Business Advisory Council 2021 chairman Yanty Rahman, and AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat.
Elaborating, Sandiaga said the revitalisation of policies could further help to also promote the tourism collaboration within Asean member states.
He suggested, among others, to create pilot projects known similarly to Sister Cities’ idea and to also re-look into merging direct flights.
“By promoting tourism package to the healthworkers, who have been at the forefront since the pandemic emerged, I would say it is a great idea to let them taste the Asean tourism experience and certainly one of many ways that we could collaborate in the region,” he said.
The Asean’s tourism industry contributed to 14.3 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 13.7 per cent of total employment in the region.
In 2020, however, international tourist arrivals plummeted 80.5 per cent and suffered the loss of 75.8 per cent in tourism receipts. — Bernama