All eyes on ASEAN

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Angkor Wat in Cambodia

ASEAN's rich cultural traditions, icons and natural attractions, including UNESCO World Heritage sites, and "wonders of the world" provide the magic dust that attracts global attention. 

The timing is ideal for the region to receive a steroid boost in tourism performance. ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary, which heralds a period of attractive marketing promotions and initiatives. This comes right off the back of a sterling year. Tourism arrivals in ASEAN as of September 30, 2015 was 105,084, up from 55,861 the year before, according to statistics from ASEAN Tourism Statistics Database.

Devinder Ohri, president, ASEAN Tourism Association; president, National Association of Travel Agents Singapore said that ASEAN naturally lends itself for successful incentive groups to be handled here, because the formula calls for a combination of a city and a resort. 

"All companies ideally want to have a gala, and then proceed to let their hair down at the beach - something which all of our ASEAN nations can provide. It's even possible to do this across nations, such as flying to Philippines first, then Thailand. With huge connectivity - Singapore Airlines has six flights per day to Bali for instance - shifting 400 people in one day between two countries is now easier than before," he adds.

Helen Marano, senior vice president, government affairs, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) emphasised that ASEAN countries are characterised by beautiful nature and culture that provide valuable opportunities for governments and companies. 

Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar are among the top 10 fastest-growing tourism economies in 2015, according to Marano. In terms of the market share size, Thailand and Indonesia are in the global top 20.

Typical top performers such as Indonesia and Singapore are also shown to be on track for tourism infrastructure development by staying ahead of the curve. This places them in strong stead for meeting continued tourism demand.

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