Brunei recently hosted the 39th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) and Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), the world’s largest ASEAN destination, product and services showcase, accommodating some 1000 delegates from across the region.

The opening ceremony that took place at The Empire Brunei was graced by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office.

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On hand to welcome His Royal Highness the Crown Prince was Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism as the Chairman of the ATF 2020 Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Ali Apong along with the ASEAN Tourism Ministers.

At the event, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince also launched the revamped ASEAN Tourism website www.aseantourism.travel

The new website serves an integrated one-stop platform for the public on ASEAN tourism products and activities where it can help drive more interest to the region as a preferred destination among travellers.

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In his opening remarks, YB Dato Haji Ali said that in 2019, ASEAN welcomed over 133 million international arrivals, an increase by 7 per cent from 2018.

“ASEAN tourism industry has seen significant growth in the last decade and continues to be an important contributor to ASEAN’s socio-economic development,” he said, adding that intra-ASEAN travel comprises of 36.7 per cent of international arrivals in 2018.

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The minister also said that the increased number of arrivals also means creating opportunities in terms of generating economic activities, investment and employment.

Moreover, the creation of the revamped website is to accommodate the needs of rising demand for digital tourism experiences and availability of information while reflecting the current trends of today’s generation.

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The new website, the minister added, also aims to be a credible online source to drive and attract more interest to the Southeast Asian region as a destination of choice to experience the culture and authentic way of life in the people of ASEAN.

The ATF serves as a platform for the region’s tourism ministers, government officials and travel industry players to come together and discuss ways to grow and enhance tourism opportunities.

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It is a cooperative regional effort to promote ASEAN as one tourist destination and the annual event involves tourism industry sectors from all member states;  Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

For TRAVEX, it was held for three days as part of the ATF where sellers and buyers of tourism products and services took part in business matching, meeting and networking.

The next ATF will be hosted by Cambodia in 2021.

Cambodian dancer sperforming during the ASEAN Tourism Forum closing ceremony at The Empire Brunei. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

This article was first published on January 18, 2020 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 72

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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