Promoting ASEAN as the Ultimate World Festival Destination

ASEAN has immense potential to be the ultimate festival destination, acting as a connecting thread between countries and offering a wide range of diverse tour options. This vision aims to establish ASEAN as a magnet for travelers seeking a unique and captivating experience.

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The Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on December 26 organized a workshop on ASEAN festival tourism, as reported by VNA.

Vietnam is actively participating in and contributing to tourism cooperation activities within the ASEAN framework. Currently, Vietnam holds the Chair position of the Committee on Resources, Monitoring and Evaluation of ASEAN Tourism; and serves as the main coordinator of the project “Building ASEAN festival tourism products”.

According to the organizing committee, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has stated that international tourism is on its path to recovery and is expected to reach about 90% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. Several destinations have already recovered, some even surpassing their pre-Covid-19 visitor numbers and revenue. Based on forecasts by tourism experts, the global tourism industry is projected to fully recover starting from 2024 onwards.

Delegates discuss at the workshop on ASEAN festival tourism. Photo: NDO

During the workshop, experts and policymakers from ASEAN countries shared information and experiences to foster the development of festival tourism and connect destinations within the region.

It was reported at the event that in 2022, ASEAN countries received 43 million international visitors, accounting for only 30% of the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

Therefore, ASEAN is intensifying cooperation in tourism for post-pandemic sustainable development and recovery.

In the past two years, ASEAN has introduced new policies such as the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy for the 2021-2025 period, the Post-Covid-19 Recovery Plan for ASEAN Tourism, and the ASEAN Framework on Sustainable Tourism Development in the Post-Covid-19 Era.

Developing tourism products to enhance ASEAN destination competitiveness is a crucial aspect in promoting post-pandemic recovery. Notably, a project focusing on the development of ASEAN festival tourism has been launched to diversify tourism products in the region and enhance intra-bloc destination connectivity.

As the coordinating organization of the project, VNAT has proposed effective solutions for developing festival tourism in ASEAN, including Vietnam.

According to a report by VNAT, ASEAN is renowned for being a land of festivals that occur year-round throughout the region, each with its own distinctive qualities.

Festival tourism offers opportunities for tourists to immerse themselves in local culture, sample traditional cuisine, and experience unique entertainment activities. Many festivals in Southeast Asia have gained international fame, attracting numerous tourists. These include Cambodia’s New Year festival, Thailand’s Songkran water festival, lantern and boat racing festivals in Laos, the Bali art festival in Indonesia, and Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn festival.

During the workshop, participants agreed on the importance of promoting ASEAN as a festival destination capable of connecting destinations within the region, diversifying tour options, and creating a distinctive allure.

International experiences and emerging trends in festival tourism were also discussed, along with recommendations for relevant parties to effectively manage festival tourism while preserving and promoting cultural and heritage values.

Hannah Nguyen