On 15 January 2020, the 23rd Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers was successfully convened in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam in conjunction with the 39th ASEAN Tourism Forum. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E Dato Ali Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei Darussalam, and Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia and attended by AMS tourism ministers, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Secretariat, secretaries general of ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), ASEAN-Japan Centre and ASEAN-Korea Centre as well as representatives of international tourism organizations including World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA). Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ACC attended the meeting and delivered remarks.
The meeting discussed the outcomes of the ASEAN Summit 2019, reports by ASEAN National Tourism Organizations and the joint press communiqué. International and regional tourism organizations were consulted on relevant issues, especially those of common concern, such as strengthening multilateral cooperation for the ASEAN tourism industry, marketing ASEAN as one single destination, how to respond to new trends of tourist preferences and facilitate tourism in the region. In 2019, ASEAN welcomed over 133 million international arrivals, an increase by 7% from 2018. The ministers hope to see this growth trend continue in the years to come.
In his speech, Secretary-General Chen Dehai reviewed the achievements of ASEAN-China strategic partnership in recent years. He observed that the ASEAN-China relationship is entering a new stage of all-round development, marked by growing political trust, closer high-level exchanges and fruitful practical cooperation. As a strong bond connecting ASEAN and China, tourism has its unique advantages as all parties desire more international exchanges and cooperation. The number of two-way visits between ASEAN and China in 2018 reached over 55 million, and now there are nearly 4500 flights per week shuttling between the two sides. For the year of 2019, the number of two-way visits was expected to reach 60 million, maintaining the momentum of uninterrupted growth. ACC would continue to play its role and join efforts with its ASEAN partners to make greater contributions to the sustainable development of the ASEAN tourism industry.
The AMS tourism ministers appreciated ACC’s contributions to the sustainable development ASEAN tourism industry, connectivity and mutual understanding between the two sides.