Joint Media Statement

The Sixth Meeting of ASEAN, China, Japan and Rep. of Korea Tourism Ministers (MATM Plus Three) was held on 30 January 2007 in Singapore in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2007 and the Tenth Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore and H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand as co-chair.

The Ministers were pleased to note the tourist arrivals of ASEAN Plus Three in 2006 that recorded more than 89.3 million arrivals with 6.8 per cent growth compared to 2005. China, Japan and ROK are important source markets for ASEAN as more than 8.26 million arrivals arrived in ASEAN Member Countries in 2006, while ASEAN contributed to more than 4.4 million arrivals to plus three countries. Intra-ASEAN Plus Three travel accounted for 58 per cent of total arrivals in ASEAN Plus Three countries.

The Ministers welcomed the decisions of ASEAN Plus Three and the respective ASEAN Plus 1 Summits held on 14 January 2007 in Cebu, the Philippines and expressed their full support to the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation as the main vehicle in achieving a long-term goal of realizing an East Asia community. ASEAN will drive this cooperation, with active participation of the Plus Three countries.

The Ministers appreciated the concrete steps taken by China to establish the ASEAN-China Centre for promoting trade, investment and tourism. The Ministers noted that the booths provided by China at China International Travel Mart 2006 were utilized to support the establishment of ASEAN Common Area. China has made similar offer for CITM 2007 and would also organise a workshop on China’s outbound tourism.

The Ministers were pleased to note Japan’s initiatives to further promote youth travel and tourism exchange which would include the invitation to young people from East Asia Summit participating countries to visit Japan, and the “East Asia Youth Ship” project to commemorate the ASEAN’s 40th anniversary. The Ministers were satisfied with the progress of the ASEAN-Japan Cruise Promotion Project under the ASEAN-Japan Transport Partnership.

The Ministers welcomed the decision of the ASEAN-ROK Leaders to pursue the establishment of an ASEAN-ROK Centre to promote trade, investment, tourism and socio-cultural cooperation. The Ministers were pleased to note a solid commitment of the Republic of Korea through by implementing concrete work-programmes such as a ten-week residence program of Korean language and culture for 26 ASEAN tour guides and a training program for ASEAN NTOs Officials to boost tourism cooperation between ROK and ASEAN countries: programs that will be continued this year as well.

The Ministers supported cruise tourism, youth exchange, manpower development, joint tourism marketing and promotion, quality assurance and safety measures for tourists as the main areas of concrete collaboration among ASEAN Plus Three. The Ministers discussed common challenges to tourism and agreed to strengthen the crisis communications and the exchange of timely and accurate information.

The Ministers expressed appreciation of Cambodia’s offer to establish ASEAN Plus Three common area complimentary booths at Angkor International Tourism Exchange to be held in Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia on 6-9 October 2007.

The Ministers looked forward to the early establishment of the ASEAN-China Centre for Trade, Investment and Tourism Promotion, and the ASEAN-ROK Centre for promoting trade, investment, tourism and socio-cultural cooperation, and the participation of their representatives at the ATF 2008 in Bangkok.

LIST OF MINISTERS

The Meeting was attended by:

H.E. Pehin Dato Dr. Awg Haji Ahmad Haji Jumat, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;

H.E. Mr. Lay Prohas, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia;

H.E. Mr. Gu Zhaoxi, Vice Chairman of the National Tourism Administration, China;

H.E. Mr. Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia;

H.E. Mr. Shigetarou Yamamoto, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan;

H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister, Chairman of Lao National Tourism Administration, Lao PDR;

H.E. Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia;

H.E. Major General Soe Naing, Minister for Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar;

H.E. Mr. Oscar P. Palabyab, Undersecretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines;

H.E. Mr. Lee Bokyoung, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Rep.of Korea.

H.E. Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore;

H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand;

H.E. Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh, Chairman of Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, Viet Nam; and

H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN.