Ten ASEAN countries mounted a campaign at the ASEAN Tourism Forum to see that joint marketing and promotion activities are coordinated and the world gets a near-unified image of these nations.
The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 is currently taking place in Ha Long City, in the northern province of Quảng Ninh in Vietnam from January 14-18 to boost tourism cooperation and development.
With the theme “ASEAN – The Power of One,” senior officials from all 10 ASEAN nations sat together in Ha Long to reveal what each of them have done to promote the ASEAN spirit. Some earlier steps in this direction failed, but since then, the association has come up with a new logo and is working on producing a joint brochure of product offerings
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprised of 10 countries in Southeast Asia with Member States from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Brunei, Laos.
The ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy 2017-2020 has the vision of building awareness of Southeast Asia as a unique and sustainable tourism destination. The objective of this vision is to develop an integrated and digitally-focused marketing action plan with a strategic implementation process based on collective programs with industry partnerships. It also seeks to promote regional visitor experiences that meet the development needs of the member countries.
To meet the goal of best resource utilization, the focus is on an effective marketing plan for the organization, and for the first time, an agency is being engaged to get the agency’s message across in digital format. ASEAN plans to revamp its website this year to make it more consumer-centric.
At the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019, he ASEAN National Tourism Organizations (ASEAN NTOs) revealed their collective efforts in marketing initiatives to inspire travel to Southeast Asia.
“While each Member State continues to promote their own country, the 10 ASEAN Member States also work together to promote 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.
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 and nature & adventure offerings are to be highlighted 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.
In addition to the above, each NTO provided country updates as follows.
- Brunei Darussalam launched its new tourism branding “Brunei: Adobe of Peace” and a new website. This year, Bandar Seri Begawan will be named as the Capital of Islamic Culture in Asia for 2019, whereby the country will promote more cultural and Islamic tourism packages.
- Cambodia welcomed new flight connectivity in 2019 by Cambodia Airways, Philippines Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Air China. Cambodia also revealed tourism investment opportunities in the North-East Zone, Key Coastal Zone and Phnom Penh, as well as confirmed the hosting of ATF 2021 in Phnom Penh.
- Indonesia targeted 20M visitors this year. To reach this goal, the government launched a series of programs including digital tourism, millennial tourism, and nomadic tourism; and a “10 New Balis” campaign to develop and promote lesser-known destinations. Moreover, a new Low Cost Terminal is in the plan.
- Lao PDR ran the “Visit Lao Year 2018” Campaign, to promote both primary and secondary cities, e.g. Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Champasak, Xiengkhouang, Luang Namtha, Khammouane, etc. This year, the Government would continue the effort by highlighting its cultural festivals, such as Boun Kinchieng (Hmong new year), Elephant Festival, Lao New Year (Water Festival), Rocket Festival and Boun Pha That Luang Festival.
- Malaysia produced the ASEAN Tourism Packages 2019-2020. There are 69 multi-country travel packages featuring ASEAN destinations from 38 travel agents, supporting the promotion of ASEAN as a single destination.
- Myanmar unveiled its new tourism brand “Myanmar: Be Enchanted”, to showcase its friendly, charming, mystical and as-yet-undiscovered destination. A visa-free relaxation scheme was extended to visitors from Japan, South Korea, Macau, Hong Kong, while Visa-on-Arrival was granted to Chinese and Indian citizens.
- Philippines reinforced its thrust of promoting the country as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination, by anchoring its projects focusing on green destinations and offering community-based products. Philippines Tourism Promotion Board also updated on its newly-opened airports, i.e. Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport and Cagayan North International Airport.
- Thailand positioned itself as a world-class destination, aiming to offer quality products and services, stimulate expenditure and expand the niche market as well as stimulate the economy of rural areas by promoting emerging tourism destinations. As ASEAN Chair in 2019, Thailand seeks to develop an ASEAN Community, which is people-centered and leaves no one behind.
- Singapore welcomed 16.9M visitors from January to November last year, an increase of 6.6% from the same period in 2017. Singapore Tourism Board continued to build upon its destination brand Passion Made Possible to tell an authentic Singapore story.
- Viet Nam achieved 20% increase in tourism arrivals in 2018, the highest growth among ASEAN countries. The country was awarded the “Asia’s Leading Destination 2018” and “Asia’s Best Golf Destination 2018” by World Travel Awards and World Golf Awards respectively. 2019 was earmarked “Visit Vietnam 2019 – Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa” to promote the nation’s cultural and coastal assets.