On 4February 2021, the 24th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers was convened online and chaired by Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia. Through this important meeting themed “Unity for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Recovery”, the Tourism Ministers of ASEAN Member States (AMS), Secretary-General of ASEAN Secretariat, Secretaries-General of ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC), ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) and representatives of leading international tourism organisationsincluding World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), ASEANTourism Association (ASEANTA) shared their understandings on tourism revitalisation and sustainable development in the new era facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ACC attended and addressed the meeting.
In his remarks, Mr. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN hoped that regional tourism could be recovered as soon as possible through joint efforts by all relevant partners. He also expressed appreciation towards the continuous efforts by ACC, AJC and AKC on regional tourism revitalisation and development.
When addressing the meeting, Secretary-General Chen Dehai mentioned that 2021 is a milestone year for ASEAN and China as it has ushered in the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations. He said the prospects and potential in the field of people-to people exchanges and tourism cooperation between ASEAN and China had never been weakened. Facing the New Normal of battling the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitating economic recovery, both sides may enhance cooperation in many industries including tourism, public health, digital technology, human resources development and so on.
The representatives discussed important agendas including the outcomes of the 37th ASEAN Summit, reports by ASEAN National Tourism Organisations and implementation of the Joint Statement of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers on Strengthening Cooperation to Revitalise ASEAN Tourism. According to UNWTO, the international arrivals for the whole world decreased by about 74% year-on-year in 2020; and for Asia and the Pacific, 84%.
On 5 February, Secretary-General Chen Dehai attended the 20th Meeting of ASEAN Plus Three(China, Japan and Republic of Korea) Tourism Ministers and exchanged views onlinewith his counterparts on the APT Tourism Cooperation Work Plan 2021-2025 and other relevant agendas.