The Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA) has developed single- and multi-destination tour packages for South-east Asia which will be launched on February 1 under the banner ASEAN Smiles.
As part of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, ASEAN Smiles has the support of South-east Asian NTOs, as well as component members of ASEANTA.
Outgoing FATA president, Mingkwan Metmowlee, said 30 packages have been finalised and more will be added in due course. They are themed by nature, culture and heritage, gastronomy, wellness and cruises, and are available in free-and-easy, half- and full-board arrangements.
Valid until December 31, 2020, these packages will target travellers from medium-haul and longhaul markets, and who are keen on intra-regional programmes.
Mingkwan shared that ASEAN Smiles will be promoted on the ASEANTA website and at several travel tradeshows, such as ITB China and ITB India, through ASEANTA’s participation.
Leveraging the newly elected FATA president who also heads the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, as well as the fact that 2020 is Visit Malaysia Year, ASEAN Smiles will be presented at the Malaysia pavilion at ITB Berlin in March.
“Packages will be further promoted at FATA Convention 2020, yet to be decided between Cambodia and Myanmar,” she added.
FATA members are committed to promoting Visit ASEAN Year 2020 through the ASEAN Smiles packages.
Furthermore, ASEANTA will sign an MoU with Japan National Tourism Organization at the ASEANTA Board meeting in Sapporo this July, to get a mutual travel exchange going.
Ritchie B Tuano, president of Philippine Travel Agencies Association as well as secretary-general of FATA, described ASEAN Smiles as a “demonstration of the strength and unity of ASEAN in promoting tourism to the world”.
Sabli Arsad, president of the Association of Travel Agents Brunei, believes that ASEAN Smiles will help to bring attention to Brunei’s tourism offerings and open new markets for the destination.
“We are a small country and tourism is still a new industry for us. We lack awareness in many countries. Some people don’t know where Brunei is,” Sabli remarked.
Eddy Krismeidi Soemawilaga, the coordinator of ASEAN Airlines meeting at ATF 2020, expressed support.
He told TTG Asia: “We support FATA’s efforts and will come out with competitive airfares (to go with the packages).”