1 . The Informal Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 6 January 1997.
2. The Meeting was chaired by His Excellency Dato’ Sabbarudin Chik, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism of Malaysia and was attended by His Excellency Pehin Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei Darussalam; His Excellency Mr. Joop Ave, Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications of Indonesia; Mr. Daniel G. Corpuz, Executive Director, Convention and Visitors Corporation of the Philippines; Dr. Tan Chin Nam, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourist Promotion-Board; His Excellency Mr. Vikrom Koompirochana, Ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia; and the Honourable Ms. Vo Thi Thang, Chairwoman, Vietnam National Administrative and Tourism. The Meeting was also attended by His Excellency Mr. Veng Sereyvuth, Minister of Tourism, the Kingdom of Cambodia and His Excellency Mr. Sanya Abhay, Deputy Director-General , National Tourism Authority of Lao P.D.R. as observers. His Excellency Dato’ Ajit Singh, the Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance.
3. The ASEAN Tourism Ministers agreed to report to their respective governments make their informal meeting into a formal one. The Ministers requested the ASEAN Secretariat to draft the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the formal meeting. The Meeting further agreed to hold the first Formal Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers, if necessary before the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting which is scheduled on 30 June 1997.
4. In assessing the development and programmes related to ASEAN Tourism, the Tourism Ministers expressed satisfaction with the implementation of various decisions taken. The Meeting was of the view that these encouraging achievements have contributed to a greater commitment of ASEAN Members to strengthen their cooperation in developing the regional tourism industry. However, the Tourism Ministers of ASEAN agreed that efforts should be continued and strengthened to further develop the industry on a regional basis for the benefits of all member countries.
5. Among the issues discussed by the ASEAN Tourism Ministers included:
5.1 Establishing a special lane at immigration check Points to facilitate travel of ASEAN nationals.
Thailand has already implemented this facility at the Bangkok Airport-and Malaysia has agreed to provide similar services when the KL national Airport is operational.
5.2 Increasing direct air links between ASEAN tourism areas.
5.3 Developing a system to facilitate yacht and leisure boats movement.
5.4 Promoting ASEAN as a venue for major conventions as well as sports events.
5.5 Promoting the Mekong Basin as a tourist destination.
5.6 Training for trainers and resource managers in tourism skills and conservation.
5.7 Enhancing cooperation under the ASEAN sub-regional groups such as IMT- GT, BIMP-EAGA and IMS-GT.
The Meeting acknowledged the importance of regional tourism and the relevant national tourism agencies have been directed to develop cooperative programmes to promote the region.
6. The ASEAN Tourism Ministers also exchanged views on current international issues related to tourism.
7. The ASEAN Tourism Ministers were also informed that the ASEAN Tourism Forum 1998 (ATF’98) which would be organized by the Philippines. The Meeting also agreed to privatize future ATFs. However, the degree of private sector’s participation would be left to the respective ATF Host Country to decide.
8 The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and solidarity.