Call for smart tourism initiatives

Izah Azahari

Digital support has provided the travel and tourism industry a valuable platform that enables better accessibility, visibility of information, strong marketing, promotion strategies of tourism products and others.

This was highlighted by Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, in his capacity as Chairman of the 23rd ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting yesterday at The Empire Brunei, as part of the ongoing ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2020.

The minister also highlighted that ‘ASEAN – Together Towards a Next Generation of Travel’, which is the theme for ATF 2020, represents the need to work together with business stakeholders and communities in the tourism sector and adopt various technologies to meet tourist expectations.

“Such advancements demand travel and tourism-related business owners to invest in digital presence, as it is no longer viable not to be seen online, to remain competitive and appealing to the next generation of travellers,” he added.

To this end, the minister invited ASEAN Tourism Ministers to discuss initiatives in smart tourism and how ASEAN can provide for a more personalised and meaningful experience in the region.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong receives a souvenir; and the minister in a group photo. PHOTOS: IZAH AZAHARI

The meeting also saw a brief speech by Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia Dr Thong Khon, as the Vice-Chairman of the 23rd ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting.

Attended by Tourism Ministers from ASEAN member countries, the meeting discussed the progress of the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025, as well as the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy 2017-2020, ASEAN Tourism Standard and ASEAN Tourism Forum 2021.

The meeting also reviewed the ASEAN tourism performance 2018 and 2019; and discussed on cooperation with other ASEAN bodies and dialogue partners, namely Plus Three and India.

The ATF 2020 is a week-long event that includes a three-day Travel Exchange (Travex) from January 14-16.

Around 1,000 tourism officials and exhibitors are expected to participate in meetings and social functions, including international and local media representatives.

The 23rd ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting is followed by the 19th ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Ministers’ Meeting and the 8th ASEAN-India Tourism Ministers Meeting, which will take place today at The Empire Brunei.