Tourism ministers of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on Wednesday to deepen tourism cooperation so as to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on the sector.
The announcement was made via a joint statement following a special meeting of the ASEAN tourism ministers on the Covid-19 via video conferencing, which was chaired by Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon.
The ministers agreed to foster coordination among the member countries in speeding up information exchange about travel, especially pertaining to health standards and other measures implemented by the member countries in controlling the spread of Covid-19, so as to provide timely and accurate information for travellers and tourism marketers.
They also struck a deal to deepen the collaboration of South-east Asian NTOs with other relevant sectors in the region, especially in the sectors of health, information, transportation, immigration; as well as regional external partners to collectively implement the comprehensive measures in a transparent and timely manner to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and other crisis in the future.
The tourism ministers also agreed to enhance cooperation in the sharing of information and best practices among member countries as well as with South-east Asian dialogue partners in supporting the tourism sector.
The cooperation also covers the implementation of policies and measures to bolster the confidence of domestic and international visitors to South-east Asia, including the development of standards and guidelines to create a safer and healthier environment so as to protect staff and communities in the hospitality and tourism-related industries.
In addition, the ministers also concurred to support the development and implementation of a post Covid-19 crisis recovery plan, as well as efforts on the promotion and marketing of joint tourism with the aim of advancing South-east Asia as a single tourism destination.
They also agreed to quicken the implementation of micro- and macro-economic policies; provide technical support and financial stimulus; tax relief; capacity and skill improvement, especially digital skills, for industry stakeholders.
Furthermore, they will also work to accelerate the cooperation with South-east Asian dialogue partners, international organisations and relevant industries to “build a strong and prepared South-east Asia to effectively implement and manage tourism that is sustainable and inclusive after the crisis”.
Indonesia’s vice minister of tourism and creative economy Angela Tanoesoedibjo, who took part in the ministerial meeting, said: “Several studies state that it needs at least five years for the tourism sector to return to the normal condition after Covid-19. But I believe that ASEAN is better than that, the tourism in our region will recover faster under one condition – we have to strengthen (our) cooperation and collaboration.”