JAPAN and ASEAN have pledged to accelerate the growth of regional tourism by strengthening collaboration in the sector and agreed upon the direction for further cooperation.
The pledge came during the October 28 ASEAN-Japan Tourism Ministers’ Special Dialogue, held in the Japanese capital Tokyo to commemorate the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation. The dialogue was held under the theme “The next 50 years of ASEAN and Japan: designing the path to sustainable tourism together”.
“The meeting acknowledged the immense tourism potential of the region, as well as the importance of concerted efforts by ASEAN and Japan, two of the world’s most attractive and promising destinations, to advance tourism cooperation,” said a joint media statement, released on the same day.
The participants noted Japan’s pursuit of sustainable tourism, which is intended to create a virtuous cycle of socio-economy and environment in local communities under the motto of “Good to Live In, Good to Visit”.
ASEAN has chosen to focus on diversity, hospitality and sustainability, with the tourism tagline “A Destination for Every Dream”, while working on community-based tourism initiatives which will empower local communities to achieve environmentally sustainable socio-economic development.
“We agreed to further the development of tourism in our region through enhancing our cooperation, and reached a consensus on the direction for future cooperation,” added the statement.
The ministers noted that sustainable tourism involves not only mitigating environmental impact, but also enhancing the economic and social sustainability of local communities.
“We agreed to promote innovative marketing activities for sustainable tourism, while highlighting the unique cultural and natural attractions of ASEAN and Japan,” they said.
The meeting reaffirmed the importance of developing tourism features that promote the protection and conservation of important natural and cultural resources, while leveraging these resources to develop sustainable destinations that benefit both local residents and visitors.
The statement explained that it is crucial to enhance international awareness and foster mutual understanding in our region, as this will contribute to peace and prosperity, not only in the region but also across the world.
The participants also recognised that further advancement of mutual exchanges should be encouraged while the development of products which allow travellers to appreciate the authentic experiences of ASEAN and Japan through diverse activities, nature, food and cultures – while ensuring a secure and enjoyable environment – should be encouraged.
They suggested that this could be achieved by the promotion of visits to lesser-known destinations and rural areas through innovative marketing. This should be done alongside a campaign to raise awareness of the ongoing efforts by ASEAN and Japan to ensure sustainable tourism development.
To this end, the ministers urged the broadening of tourism exchanges across diverse fields, including business, education, research, culture and the arts, sports, nature, wellness and adventure.
They also conducted dialogues with the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the ASEAN-Japan Centre.
“We commend the ASEAN-Japan Centre for its initiatives in promoting tourism and exchanges between ASEAN and Japan thus far, and we look forward to the Centre’s continued contributions toward advancing sustainable tourism and mutual exchanges between ASEAN and Japan,” added the statement.
Source : The Phnom Penh Post