The ASEAN Tourism Ministers held their Eighth Meeting (M-ATM) on 24 January 2005 in Langkawi, Malaysia in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2005 (ATF 2005). H.E. Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia chaired the Meeting.

Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

The ASEAN Tourism Ministers expressed their profound sorrow with the heavy loss of lives and properties from the earthquake and Tsunami disaster befalling the Indian Ocean rim countries on 26 December 2004. The Ministers expressed their support for the implementation of the Declaration on the Action to Strengthen Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Prevention on the Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster, adopted at the Special ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia 6 January 2005. A statement calling for continuous and sustained efforts by all to assist the affected countries in emergency relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction was also issued. The text of the Statement is attached to this Joint Media Statement. The Ministers called for the enhancement of crisis communications, management and networking among member countries in order to effect timely and appropriate responses, and to accelerate the reconstruction and restoration of tourism industry after the crisis.

The Ministers welcomed WTO’s initiative in organizing a special session on 1 February 2005 in Phuket, Thailand, concerning the Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami on 26 January 2004 to assess the impacts on tourism in the affected areas to find ways and means for the recovery of tourism industry.

ASEAN Tourism Forum 2005

The Ministers appreciated the great efforts undertaken by Malaysia in hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2005 in Langkawi with the theme: “Shifting Paradigm – Prospering the Region”. The ATF 2005 has brought more than 400 buyers to Langkawi to explore business opportunities in tourism with about 940 sellers from ASEAN. They welcomed the efforts by the tourism industry in organizing 510 tourism booths and the participation of 131 media agencies in providing timely and comprehensive coverage of ATF 2005.

Integrated Tourism in ASEAN by 2010

The Ministers were pleased with the adoption of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) and the ASEAN Framework Agreement for the Integration of Priority Sectors at the 10th ASEAN Summit in Lao PDR in November 2004. Being one of the priority integration sectors, tourism will be fully integrated in ASEAN by 2010. The Ministers tasked their officials to implement all the measures specified in the Roadmap for Integration of Tourism sector to ensure that the timeframe is adhered to. In this regard, the Ministers supported the decision of ASEAN NTOs to establish a special working group to further facilitate tourism integration. The Ministers also welcomed ASEAN NTOs’ decision to embark on development of tourism standards through a newly-established Task Force led by Thailand.

The Ministers reviewed the implementation status of the ASEAN Tourism Agreement signed by ASEAN Leaders in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 4 November 2002 and noted with satisfaction the progress made by ASEAN NTOs in cooperation with other ASEAN bodies.

The Ministers welcomed the acceleration of the work by the ASEAN Director-Generals of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM) on harmonization of visa issuance procedures for international travellers and expressed confidence that this measure would greatly facilitate inter- and intra-ASEAN travel and tourism.

The Ministers also welcomed the efforts by the DGICM to embark on the Framework Agreement on Visa Exemption for ASEAN nationals and called for its early conclusion and implementation.

Record Performance in 2004

The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the strong gains of travel and tourism in ASEAN. Tourist arrivals in ASEAN reached a record high of more than 44 million by the end of 2004, reflecting an increase of more than 35 per cent, compared to 2003.

The Ministers were confident that, in spite of the challenges posed to tourism, the ASEAN region will continue to be resilient and to achieve greater growth.

Visit ASEAN Campaign further Promoted

The Ministers noted the progress made in the implementation of the third phase of Visit ASEAN Campaign (VAC) promoting intra-ASEAN travel, in particular, the ASEAN Hip-Hop Pass, a value travel package offered by participating airlines, hotels and travel agents for tourists travelling within ASEAN.  The Ministers encouraged the tourism industry to introduce new, creative and attractive packages to further promote inter- and intra-ASEAN travel. The Ministers further noted CNN International as an “Official International Cable and Satellite Media Partner” for VAC 2005.

Tourism Services Liberalization Accelerated

The Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the third round of negotiations through the signing of the Protocol to Implement the Fourth Package of Commitments under ASEAN Framework Agreement for Services (AFAS) by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) in September 2004 in Jakarta. They further welcomed the launching of the fourth round of negotiations by the AEM, starting in 2005 and to be concluded within two years. The Ministers appreciated the work being done by the Coordinating Committee for Services (CCS) to eliminate the limitations on market access and national treatment to achieve freer flow of trade in the tourism sector by 2010 in ASEAN.

Cooperation with Other Countries

The Ministers noted the progress made by ASEAN and its dialogue partners in tourism cooperation and development.

The Ministers welcomed the outcome of the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+1 Summits held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 29-30 November 2004 and committed ASEAN to implement the tourism-related activities to further strengthen partnership with ASEAN Dialogue Partners.

Future ATFs

The Ministers agreed that ATF 2006 and ATF 2007 will be held in Myanmar and the Philippines respectively. They further agreed to convene the Ninth and Tenth Meetings of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers in conjunction with ATF 2006 and ATF 2007.

 
LIST OF MINISTERS

The Meeting was attended by:

(i) H.E. Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam;
(ii) H.E. Mr. Lay Prohas, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia;
(iii) H.E. Mr. Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Chairman of Lao National Tourism Administration, Lao PDR;
(v) H.E. Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia;
(vi) H.E. Brigadier General Thein Zaw, Minister for Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar;
(vii) H.E. Mr. Joseph “Ace” H. Durano, Secretary, Philippine Department of Tourism;
(viii) H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
(ix) H.E. Mr. Krirk-Krai Jirapaet, Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand;
(x) H.E. Dr. Pham Tu, Vice-Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam; and
(xi) H.E. Pengiran Dato Mashor Pengiran Ahmad, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN.

 
Table 1 – Total International Visitor Arrivals 2004*

CountryMonth Period  2004 2003 +/-
Brunei Darussalam  0 0 
Cambodia  Jan-Dec  1,055,202   701,014  50.53
Indonesia* Jan-Nov  5,136,689   4,370,908  17.52
Lao PDR Jan-Nov  792,355   576,670  37.40
Malaysia Jan-Nov  14,400,439   9,247,705  55.72
Myanmar Jan-Dec  656,910   597,015  10.03
Philippines Jan-Nov  2,052,903   1,497,989  37.04
Singapore Jan-Dec  8,328,118   6,127,029  35.92
Thailand Jan-Sept  8,518,833   6,925,601  23.00
Viet Nam Jan-Dec  2,927,873   2,428,735  20.55
TOTAL    43,869,322   32,472,666  35.10

Figure 1 – ASEAN’s Source Markets based on Region (2004*)

 
Note:  *Preliminary figure