Tourism ministers in Southeast Asian have pledged to step up measures to realize the planned Asean Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 at the Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, from January 16 to 24 this year.
The various committees reported on the progress of the programs and projects contained in the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP).
Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed to adopt the Declaration on Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Meetings were also held with dialogue partners such as China, Japan and South Korea to improve cooperation and travel with and among these countries.
The report made by the various committees during the conference point to a 75-percent completion of the interventions, which include improving connectivity via the open skies policy; increasing competitiveness of the tourism workforce through the Mutual Recognition Agreement; simplifying visa procedures through the Asean common visa; improving readiness for crisis and climate change; establishing quality tourism through the standards on hotel, homestay, public toilet, spa service, tourism safety and security; and developing sustainable tourist destinations and products.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. officially announced during the event that 2015 is Visit Philippines Year, and confirmed that the country is hosting ATF in 2016.
“Visit Philippines Year [VPY] will feature a calendar of events and activities that are an exciting mix of all the outstanding work of the Filipino people, as well as the unveiling of many more historic treasures, natural wonders and unforgettable adventures. VPY 2015 is an invitation to all, especially our brothers and sisters in Asean, to come and partake of the enduring promise of more fun in the Philippines.”