Connecting ASEAN tourism in the digital age

With the theme “ASEAN-The Power of One”, the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 looks to have an ASEAN of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”. The forum has laid a foundation for the bloc to become a quality destination which offers tourist experiences in a diverse and unique ASEAN. 
Held in Ha Long, Quang Ninh province, from January 16-18, the forum attracted around 2,000 delegates from national tourism agencies of the ASEAN countries, the UNWTO, and local and international travel companies and tourism media outlets.
This was the second time Vietnam hosted the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF).  Since then, Vietnam has quickly emerged as an attractive destination with original cultural and historical values, beautiful scenery and friendly people.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said tourism proved its role as a leading economic sector of Vietnam’s economy. In 2018, the sector catered to 15.6 million international visitors and 80 million domestic tourists, contributing 8% to the national GDP.


The 22nd Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers within the framework of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019
sets out tourism development orientations for ASEAN in the digital age.

A ceremony was held in late 2018 at Ha Long international cruise port in Quang Ninh
to receive the 15 millionth visitor to Vietnam. Photo: Trung Nguyen / VNA

“ATF 2019 is an opportunity for Vietnam to assert its position in regional tourism and introduce its huge potential,” he said.
At the forum, Vietnam introduced the initiative of Connecting Heritages for ASEAN Tourism Development in the Digital Age.
This initiative followed the theme of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018 “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which pointed to Industry 4.0 as the future of ASEAN, according to Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Quang Tung. The bloc now has 32 UNESCO-recognized world heritages. 

Vietnam has won 15 ASEAN tourism awards 2019 at a ceremony held as part of the ASEAN Tourism Forum on January 18.
The awards cover the fields of community-based tourism, homestay, spa, and public toilet services.
ASEAN tourism awards are granted to best cities, destinations, hotels and tourism businesses in ASEAN.
At the 22nd Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers held within the framework of ATF 2019, delegates discussed major issues. These included standardizing and developing tourism human resources, raising the competitiveness of and developing sustainable inclusive tourism, ensuring security and safety in tourism activities, and developing heritage tourism and tourism responding to environmental and climate change.

As part of ATF 2019, the ATF Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) was held in Ha Long from Jan 16-18, featuring 346 pavilions of ASEAN member countries. “TRAVEX is a professional tourism fair which helps boost tourism to ASEAN”, said Dinh Ngoc Duc, director of the Tourism Market Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

The water festival Songkran is a traditional new year ceremony in Thailand
held on the first day of the new year according to the Buddhist calendar. Photo: Xinhua / VNA

A Vietnam-Myanmar cultural exchange program held in Yangon, Myanmar by the Vietnamese Embassy. Photo: VNA

ASEAN embassies in Canada hold an ASEAN day to promote the cultures and tourism of ASEAN.
In the photo, World heritage tug of war, a folk contest of many ASEAN countries. Photo: Thuy Ha / VNA

The ASEAN cultural trade exchange program 2018 has 150 pavilions. Photo: Gia Thuan / VNA

Within ATF 2019, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) launched the tourism application Vietnamgo. The app features travelling information, weather conditions, major destinations, and local specialties, written in Vietnamese and English. It also offers 360-degree photos, as well as 3D and virtual reality viewing. 


Historical Milestone in ASEAN - GCC Cooperation

Historical Milestone in ASEAN - GCC Cooperation

Although the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) Summit took place in mid-October in the Riyadh capital (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in the context of rapid and complex developments regionally and globally, it ended successfully, marking a historic milestone in bilateral relations and making economic cooperation become a main focus and driving force connecting the two regions.