We, the Tourism Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea convened a special meeting in Beijing, China on August 9, 2003 at the initiative of China National Tourism Administration to revitalize our tourism industry, expand the flow and exchange of our peoples, and promote economic development and social prosperity of our region.
We agree that the SARS epidemic which broke out early this year in some countries and regions, adversely affected the normal flow and movement of peoples within and into ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea, brought about negative impacts to our tourism industry and the fast-growing economy of our region.
We note with satisfaction that in the face of the sudden outbreak, governments of countries and regions concerned took SARS epidemic very seriously, formulated effective measures for control and prevention and conducted fruitful international cooperation. The epidemic has been brought under effective control and poses no threat to the travelers. We welcomed the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) that has lifted travel advisory against all the affected areas in our region.
We express appreciation for every effort made by the countries of ASEAN and China, Japan, Korea to prevent SARS and contain its impacts. We are convinced that the series of meetings and seminars such as the Special ASEAN Leaders Meeting and the Special ASEAN-China Leaders Meeting on SARS held in Bangkok, the Special Meeting of ASEAN and China, Japan, Korea Health Ministers held in Kuala Lumpur and in Siem Reap, Cambodia respectively, the Entry and Exit Quarantine Management Meeting for ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea, High-Level Seminar of ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea on SARS as well as the ASEAN-China Symposium on Economic and Social Impacts by SARS held in Beijing, the Ministerial Conference on Crisis Management held in Manila, have contributed positively to the prevention and containing SARS in our region.
We unanimously agree that the impact of SARS on tourism is temporary, that our region is still one of the most popular and attractive tourist destinations in the world. In accordance with the Joint Declaration reached on the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting and Special China-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on SARS, we are determined to take pro-active measures to restore and revitalize our tourism industry, and to bring tourism and business exchanges back to normal stage in our region.
We, based on in-depth discussions, reach following common understanding, which will serve as the basic framework for future concerted actions:
1. Tourism is a messenger of peace and a bridge for friendship and cooperation. Tourism is playing a growingly important role in promoting economic and cultural development and social prosperity, enhancing international friendship, strengthening friendly exchange and safeguarding world peace. The tourism industry has become an important sector of national economy of our respective countries and is highly recognized by our respective governments.
2. Tourism industry is a sensitive industry, easily disturbed by political turmoil, terrorist activities, economic crises, natural disasters, public health and other contingencies. In order to effectively deal with any possible contingencies in the future, we shall work for well-coordinated and effective mechanisms of information exchange through ASEAN + 3 Communication Team for Tourism. We shall continue to enhance and improve safety measures in every phase of travel and tourism to ensure the safety of tourists.
3. Tourism is an activity of inter-regional or cross-border flow by people. In reaction to various contingencies, international cooperation is an important means to solve the problems. Thus, the tourism authorities of our region shall promptly exchange information and experience, engage in dialogue and coordination; if it is necessary to take measures to deal with a crisis, countries that take measures are encouraged to notify other countries concerned and to provide an opportunity for discussion on the basis of mutual respect and mutual understanding.
4. Governments of our region shall implement joint promotion among neighboring countries thereby leading to recovery of travel demands rapidly, undertake intra-regional and international tourist activities and promote the development of such tourism. In addition, we shall work to facilitate the removal of all tourism impediments, especially to simplify the visa formalities, in line with the ASEAN Tourism Agreement to provide maximum convenience for intra-regional and international travel and tourism into and within ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea.
5. Governments of our region shall adopt every possible measures conducive to the health of the tourists, increase and enhance the consciousness and the sense of responsibility of every traveler about public health and safety.
Here, we solemnly declare to the world that tourism in our region has returned to normal, the safety and well-being of tourists to our region from all over the world is safeguarded and protected. We shall warmly welcome all tourists with our attentive services and first-class products.