1. The Tourism Ministers from ASEAN, China, Japan and Rep. of Korea (ROK) Tourism Ministers held their Seventh Meeting (MATM Plus Three) on 22 January 2008 in Bangkok in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2008 and the Eleventh Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand and co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Viet Nam.

2. The preliminary figures of international tourist arrivals in ASEAN Plus Three (APT) countries in 2007 recorded more than 99 million arrivals with 14.6 per cent growth compared to 2006. Intra-APT travel accounted for 61 per cent of total arrivals in APT countries. China, Japan and ROK are important source markets for ASEAN as more than 10 million arrivals arrived in ASEAN Member Countries in 2007, while ASEAN sent more than 4.8 million visitors to China, Japan and ROK.

3. The Ministers welcomed the decisions of APT and the respective ASEAN Plus 1 Summits held on 20 November 2007 in Singapore and expressed their full support to the implementation APT Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2017) highlighted key measures to deepen cooperation over the next decade. Particularly on tourism, the APT shall pursue the promotion of the development of quality tourism and forging concrete collaboration in cultural and eco-tourism, cruise tourism, youth exchange, manpower development, joint tourism marketing and promotion, and quality assurance, as well as safety measures for tourists. The Ministers were pleased to note that the Leaders endorsed the proposal to establish an APT Cooperation Fund expeditiously to facilitate the implementation of the Work Plan.

4. The Ministers noted the decision of the recent ASEAN-China Summit to examine ways to promote tourism between ASEAN and China and encouraged ASEAN Member States and China to speed up discussions on the proposed MOU on Establishing the ASEAN-China Centre. The Ministers appreciated China for provision booths to ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat at China International Travel Mart (CITM) 2007 which were utilized to support the establishment of ASEAN Common Area and promotion of ASEAN Cruise Tourism. The Ministers welcomed the decision of China in providing booths to ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat at CITM 2008 in Shanghai and the convening of the Workshop on Chinese Outbound Tourists.

5. The Ministers strongly supported the statement issued by the ASEAN and China Heads of Government on 20 November 2007 in Singapore, which tasked their Ministers and officials to expeditiously work towards a fully liberalised air services regime between ASEAN and China. The Ministers tasked the tourism officials to support their counterparts in the Transport Ministry to realise the goal of air liberalisation. In this regard, the Ministers encouraged the respective Transport Ministers to work on the expansion of the air liberalisation regime to include Japan and ROK.

6. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress in youth exchange under such programmes as the “Japan East-Asia Network of Exchange for students and Youths” (JENESYS) Programme. The Ministers further noted that the visit of the first batch of ASEAN students to Japan has been made in November 2007. The Ministers appreciated the effort made by Japan in the implementation of various projects, such as organizing training programme for tourism industries, promotion activities in Japan of ASEAN-Japan Centre.

7. The Ministers were pleased to note the conclusion of the MOU on the establishment of an ASEAN-ROK Centre to promote trade, investment, tourism and socio-cultural cooperation to further promote tourism and cultural exchanges between both sides. The Ministers thanked ROK for the implementation of concrete work-programmes such as production of the ASEAN Map in Korean Language, Korean Language Course for ASEAN tour guides and ASEAN-Korea Tourism Night on 6 July 2007 in Seoul as well as Training Programme for ASEAN NTOs officials.

8. The Ministers discussed the progress of the concrete collaboration among APT, particularly on cruise tourism, youth exchange, manpower development, joint tourism marketing and promotion, quality assurance and safety measures for tourists. The Ministers tasked their senior officials to prepare the detailed tourism APT plan to further progress the APT Work Plan 2007-2017.

LIST OF MINISTERS

The Meeting was attended by:

(i) H.E. Pehin Dato  Dr. Awg Haji Ahmad Haji Jumat, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
(ii) H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia;
(iii) H.E. Dr. Du Jiang, Vice Chairman of the National Tourism Administration, China;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia;
(v) H.E. Mr. Kosuke Shibata, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan;
(vi) H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister, Chairman of Lao National Tourism Administration, Lao PDR;
(vii) H.E. Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia;
(viii) H.E. Brig. Gen. Aye Myint Kyu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar;
(ix) H.E. Mr. Oscar P. Palabyab, Undersecretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines;
(x) H.E. Mr. Chul-Min Mo, Director General, Office for Tourism Industry, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Rep.of Korea.
(xi) H.E. Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
(xii) H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand;
(xiii) H.E. Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Viet Nam; and
(xiv) H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN.