Vietnam Joins Hands with ASEAN for Sustainable Tourism Recovery Post Covid

Vietnam and ASEAN member states need to join hands to restore the green economy sustainably in the new normal.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet. Photo: VNA
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet. Photo: VNA

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Doan Van Viet has called on other ASEAN member countries to support and cooperate with each other in tourism development, VNA reported Monday.

Speaking at a press conference on the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2023 in Indonesia on February 5, the official said apart from traditional markets that have experienced difficulties, ASEAN should seek new ones and adjust some policies relating to aviation connection and visas.

He also suggested the bloc continue implementing tourism development strategies for 2016-2025 and adjust and update them after each meeting of ASEAN tourism ministers.

The 2023 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), themed “ASEAN: A Journey to Wonderful Destinations,” took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

It is the largest annual event held alternately among the ASEAN member nations, contributing to promoting the region as an attractive tourist destination globally.

ATF 2024 will take place in Vientiane, Laos on January 15 – 20, 2024.

Viet described culture as the core value of the regional tourism and a unique factor helping the countries attract tourists.

Sharing Viet’s view, Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco also suggested the ASEAN countries come together to offer unified tourism packages.

“We have agreed to increase first connectivity between our countries and to concretise that by identifying the international and secondary airports that may be utilised for the purpose of expanding direct flights, not only towards our key destinations, but also to emerging destinations,” she told a press conference.

Juliana Kua, Assistant Chief Executive Officer at the Singapore Tourism Board, said ASEAN should get common understanding and a common plan towards the sustainable development of the tourism industry.

Delegates at the 26th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers. Photo: VNA
Delegates at the 26th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers. Photo: VNA

For his part, Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno said the forum sought ways to strengthen the intra-bloc connectivity to facilitate travelling and tourism in the region.

Delegates also exchanged views on measures to increase flights from India and lure more Chinese tourists after the country reopened its borders in the spirit of “ASEAN as a single destination”.

The forum sent a message of ASEAN’s recovery, especially in terms of quality, sustainable tourism, as well as its diversity in nature and culture, the minister noted.

The ATF 2023, including the 26th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from February 2 – 5.

At the events, Vietnam introduced its tourism development, mechanisms and policies, tourism products and services after the Covid-19 pandemic, and the message of Vietnam tourism through the slogan “Vietnam – Timeless Charm” and the campaign “Live fully in Vietnam”.

According to data from the ASEAN Secretariat, in 2019, international tourist arrivals in Southeast Asia reached 143.5 million, accounting for 9.6% of global international tourists. The growth rate reached 6.1%, 2.1% higher than the world’s average.

For Vietnam, ASEAN is one of the most important markets and partners. In 2019, visitors from ASEAN to Vietnam hit nearly 2.1 million, accounting for about 11.6% of the total number of international arrivals to the nation.

Last year, Vietnam welcomed a total of 3.66 million foreign visitors, 23.3 times higher than the 2021 figure. In January 2023 alone, the number of foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian nation reached more than 871,000, up 44% year-on-year.

Many units of Vietnam were named in categories of the ASEAN Tourism Awards at a ceremony held as part of the ATF 2023.

Two homestay groups in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long and the northwest province of Lao Cai received the ASEAN Homestay Award.

Meanwhile, four units won the ASEAN Community Tourism Award, namely the Quan Ba Community Tourism Service Cooperative in Ha Giang province, Sin Suoi Ho community tourism village in Lai Chau province, Tan Thanh fishing village in Quang Nam province, and Thai Hai Reserve Area of Ecological Houses-on-Stilts Village in Thai Nguyen province.

The ASEAN Public Toilet Award was awarded to the toilets in Saigon Skydeck of Bitexco Financial Tower, Southern Women’s Museum and Ben Xua Tourist Area in Ho Chi Minh City.

The winners of ASEAN Spa Service Awards were Cham Spa & Massage in the central city of Da Nang, Sen Tai Thu Vincom Mega Mall Smart City in Hanoi, Sol Spa of Minera Resort Hotel in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Chi Spa of Silk Path Grand Resort & Spa Sapa – Lao Cai province, and Thala Spa of Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc Hotel in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

The ASEAN Tourism Awards is an annual event to honour localities and units with high-quality tourism products and services, contributing to boosting the sustainable development of tourism destinations in ASEAN.

Hannah Nguyen