1. The ASEAN Tourism Ministers held their Ninth Meeting (9th M-ATM) on 16 January 2006 in Davao, Philippines in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2006 (ATF 2006). H.E. Mr. Joseph H. Durano, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines chaired the Meeting together with the co-chair H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore.

ASEAN Tourism Performance and Challenges

2. The Ministers were pleased that tourist arrivals in ASEAN reached more than 44 million by the end of 2005, reflecting an increase of more than 4.7 per cent, compared to 2004. The region remained resilient in attracting improved tourist arrivals. The Ministers expressed the importance of having the industry working together with a strong sense of common purpose.

Fast Tracking the Integration of Tourism in ASEAN

3. The Ministers welcomed the outcome of the 11th ASEAN Summit which seeks to integrate the tourism sector at an even faster pace. The Ministers endorsed the recommendation of the ASEAN NTOs to adopt the proposed changes for Phase 2 of Roadmap for Integration of Tourism Sector and the proposed strategies to accelerate the Integration of Tourism Services and Air Travel in ASEAN.

ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum

4. The Ministers welcomed the convening of the ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum on 9 December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which provided a significant platform to showcase tourism investment opportunities of the region. In recognition of its importance and benefits obtained from the event, the Ministers agreed that Indonesia and Philippines would host the ATIF in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Visit ASEAN Campaign (VAC) Further Promoted

5. The Ministers were satisfied with the Media Plan of the next phase of VAC particularly on the production of ASEAN posters; the exchange of Audio Video Promotional (AVP) materials among Member Countries; the production of an AVP featuring ASEAN key attributes ; and improving ASEAN tourism website.

6. The Ministers also welcomed efforts by the tourism industry through the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) in promoting the VAC, particularly reinventing the ASEAN Hip Hop Pass into the more flexible and user-friendly Visit ASEAN Pass (Vap!). They emphasized the importance of branding and encouraged the tourism industry to continue to reinvent to further promote inter- and intra-ASEAN travel.

7. The Ministers recognized the significant contribution of youth travellers and agreed to target this market segment by creating suitable tourism products and promotional activities.

8. The Ministers tasked the senior officials with the ASEAN Secretariat to study effective strategies, programs and mechanism to move forward the joint promotion of ASEAN as a single destination and the possible establishment of ASEAN Tourism Centers in major international markets and within ASEAN; and the common ASEAN area at major international tourism events.

Enhancing Facilitation of Travel for Tourists

9. The Ministers raised the urgent need for the establishment of an ASEAN Single Visa to facilitate the travel of international tourists within the region and encouraged immigration authorities to consider the matter.

10. Recognizing the far-reaching impact of an open-sky policy on tourism development in the region, the Ministers welcomed the efforts being undertaken by ASEAN Transport Ministers to work towards the possible conclusion of multilateral agreements for passengers in line with the ASEAN Roadmap for Integration of Air Travel Sector. The Ministers also encouraged Transport officials to expedite the arrangements for direct flights amongst ASEAN Member Countries and to provide more air traffic rights in order to improve the connectivity of inter- and intra-ASEAN routes, particularly secondary cities.

Strengthening Tourism Manpower

11. The Ministers were pleased to note the completion of the ASEAN Common Competency Standards for Tourism Professionals (ACCSTP) which had successfully identified 33 tourism job-titles common competency framework. The Ministers agreed to formalize Technical Reference Group in each Member Country as formal technical committee for future development of ACCSTP. The Ministers welcomed the decision of ASEAN NTOs to task the Task Force on Tourism Manpower Development to prepare the MRA for eventual signing in December 2006.

Establishing Tourism Standards for Quality Assurance

12. The Ministers noted the finalization of the criteria and requirements of ASEAN Tourism Standards covering hotel, tourism heritage, eco-tourism site, home stay, food and beverage and public restroom. The Minister urged the Task Force on Tourism Standards to identify the performance indicators and the detailed delivery mechanism of these standards. The Ministers acknowledged the following tourism sites as ASEAN Tourism Heritage Sites: Ulu Temburong National Park, Angkor Wat, Kampung Naga, Luang Prabang, Mulu National Park, Mrauk U, Ifugao Rice Terraces, Malay Heritage Centre, Sam Chuk and Halong Bay.

Enhancing Crisis Communications

13. The Ministers noted the progress made by ASEAN Crisis Communications Team (ACCT) in finalizing the framework, action plan and manual for crisis communications for ASEAN. In view of the current threat of Avian flu, the Ministers urged the ACCT to quickly operationalize the framework, action plan and manual for crisis communications and welcomed the move by ACCT to take immediate steps to prepare its members to deal with a crisis situation.

ASEAN Protects Children in Tourism

14. The Ministers supported the regional education campaign as unified approach to combating the sexual exploitation of children in tourism destinations of ASEAN by Child Wise International.

Fortifying Cooperation with Other Countries

15. The Ministers welcomed the outcome of the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+1 Summits held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 12-14 December 2005 and committed ASEAN to implement the tourism-related activities to further strengthen their partnership with ASEAN Dialogue Partners. The Ministers thanked the ASEAN-Japan Centre for its active support to tourism development activities in the region, particularly in handling the Japanese market.

ASEAN Tourism Forum 2006

16. The Ministers were pleased that the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) held in Davao, Philippines from 13 January to 21 January 2006 with the theme: “Celebrating the Many Faces of ASEAN” has brought more than 369 foreign tourism companies as buyers to Davao to explore business opportunities in tourism with about 815 sellers in ASEAN. They welcomed the efforts by the tourism industry in organizing 412 tourism booths and the participation of 171 media agencies in providing timely coverage of ATF 2006 to peoples of ASEAN and our friends all over the world. The Ministers acknowledged CNN International as the “Official International Cable and Satellite Media Partner” for VAC 2006.

Future ATFs

17. The Ministers agreed that ATF 2007 and ATF 2008 will be held in Singapore and Thailand respectively. They further agreed to convene the Tenth and Eleventh Meetings of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers in conjunction with ATF 2007 and ATF 2008.

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. Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia;
    H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Chairman of Lao National Tourism Administration, Lao PDR;
    H.E. Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia;
    H.E. Brigadier General Aye Myint Kyu, Vice Minister for Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar;
    H.E. Mr. Joseph H. Durano, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines;
    H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
    H.E. Mr. Thavatchai Sajakul, Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand;
    H.E. Dr. Pham Tu, Vice-Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam; and
    H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN.