ASEAN Secretariat, 21 January 2011

Tapping onto the power of tourism as a tool for development, ASEAN has come up with the “ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015.” The Plan is expected to promote the region as a single tourist destination, develop a set of ASEAN tourism standards with a certification process, enable tourism professionals to work in any of the ASEAN Member States and allow visitors to travel throughout ASEAN with a single visa.

“The plan is realistic, action oriented, attuned to the global realities and designed to ensure that the ASEAN region can continue to be a successful tourism destination,” applauded the Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, H.E. Thong Khon. The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan was the outcome of the 14th Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers held in Phnom Penh.

The Plan has also gained strong support from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The Plus Three countries are willing to provide their assistance to ASEAN to ensure its successful implementation. The message was conveyed at the 10th Meeting of ASEAN, China, Japan and Republic of Korea Tourism Ministers.

ASEAN is undertaking a series of projects to ensure a physically well-connected ASEAN. It has recently granted increased flexibility to ASEAN’s designated airlines that allow them to fly and carry traffic from any ASEAN cities with an international airport to its counterpart in other Member States, while ensuring the full third, fourth and fifth freedom traffic rights. The third freedom traffic rights allow an airline to fly and carry traffic from one’s own country to another; the fourth provides for the reverse; while the fifth enables an airline to fly and carry traffic between two foreign countries with flights originating or ending in one’s own country.

The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015 was developed by the ASEAN National Tourism Organisation (NTO) with the assistance of the private sector and support from USAID.