Travel and Tourism Update: Notes from Travel and Tourism Call on November 7

Travel and Tourism Update  | November 27, 2018
Authors: Shay Wester, Lilibeth Almonte-Arbez, Steven Gunawan

On November 7, the Travel and Tourism Committee call discussed the following:

1. Update on recent activities

  • Thailand Tourism-SME Workshop
  • Malaysia Business Mission

2. ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting, January 16-18, 2019, Ha Long Bay Vietnam

  • Mission Overview and Logistics
  • Themes and Priority Issues
  • Proposed Activities

3. Travel and Tourism Committee Workplan 2019

  • Themes and Priority Issues
  • Priority Countries
  • Activities and Engagements
    • ASEAN level
      • White Paper on Emerging Policies Impacting Tourism 
      • ASEAN Tourism Competitive Committee
      • ASEAN Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism Development Committee
    • Country level
      • Tourism SME Workshops
      • Industry Missions or Roundtables

A PDF version of the call notes can also be found attached.


Call Notes

I. Welcome and Opening Remarks (Committee Chair and Vice Chairs)

  • Travel and tourism industry play a crucial role in the economic development of ASEAN – contributed to 10% of the regional GDP. In 2019, Thailand will be the host for the ASEAN tourism workstream.
  • The development of Travel and Tourism Committee workplan should contribute to and support the ASEAN Tourism workplan and ecosystem.

II. Updates

  • Thailand Tourism-SME Workshop
    • Last September, the Council held a full-day workshop in close collaboration with the Thailand Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP), Tourism Council of Thailand, and Thammasat University. Expedia, Airbnb, Cisco, PayPal, and Visa sponsored the workshop. More than 180 tourism SMEs from Bangkok and surrounding cities attended the workshop.
  • 2018 Malaysia Business Mission
    • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir stated that tourism is the country’s 2nd largest foreign exchange earner and remain an important economic driver. He would like to see more American airlines fly to Malaysia.
    • The government hopes that more international direct flights will go to Langkawi, a current and ongoing tourism priority.
    • While Malaysia would like to increase tourist arrivals, there is currently an immigration problem for visa overstays of Chinese and Indian tourists.

III. ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting, January 16-18, 2019, Ha Long Bay Vietnam

A. Mission Overview and Logistics

  • The ASEAN Tourism Forum (January 14-18, 2019) has two components: Official Meetings and TRAVEX. Official Meetings are the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meetings, ASEAN National Tourism Organization (NTO) Meetings (ASEAN NTOs and representatives from China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India and Russia), and Tourism Association Meetings [ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA), Federation of ASEAN Travel Association (FATA), ASEAN Airlines Association (AAA), and ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHRA)]. TRAVEX is a 3-day travel exchange for the buying and selling of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN.
  • Members who register to the US-ABC mission will be able to:
    • Attend plenary session with the senior officials and Tourism Ministers to discuss regional policy issues and propose ASEAN-level engagement.
    • Have bilateral meetings with Tourism Ministers (30 min – 1 hour).
  • The Council will conduct two planning calls specifically for the M-ATM:
    • 1st planning call in late November/ early December
    • 2nd planning call in early January
  • An official invitation to participate will be sent to members. Registration fee: USD 3,000.

B. Themes and Priority Issues

  • The Council proposed the following for the plenary session:
    • Tourism as employment driver
    • Education in travel and help country to stay competitive
    • Digital platforms and payment system
    • Short-term accommodation policies
  • In addition, members proposed and agreed to include visa process simplification as a priority issue. Easing up visa restrictions and harmonizing visa policies help promote tourist and business travel in ASEAN. Data localization and cybersecurity, while not a priority for the Committee, will be brought up to raise awareness among tourism ministers consistent with policy advocacy and communication with ICT, Finance, and Economic Ministers.

C. Proposed activities by members

  • Cocktail reception

- The Committee supported a member proposal to host a cocktail reception in the style of Davos nightcaps providing an evening function for informal engagement with Ministers and senior officials. The Council will propose to Vietnam as host country and ASEAN Secretariat to ensure availability of officials and check organizing costs to be defrayed by members’ sponsorship.

  • Panel discussion on Digital Economy

-The Committee also supported a member proposal to hold a panel discussion on the digital economy since there is a need to build capacity and awareness of digital platforms. It could be held as part of the cocktail reception or stand-alone event. However, this is largely contingent on ASEAN Ministers’ availability and their agreement to have the event as part of formal ASEAN agenda.

  • Booth/Live demonstration to showcase products

-Two members mentioned having a booth to showcase e-payments and other digital products. The Council stated that this will be easier to set up as part of TRAVEX, the travel exchange organized as part of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF). To register as an exhibitor, TRAVEX charges $3,400 plus taxes and other administrative fees. More information on booking a booth may be found here.

IV. Travel and Tourism Committee Workplan 2019

A. Themes and Priority Issues

  • The Committee adopted themes and priority issues similar to those discussed for the ASEAN Tourism Ministers plenary session with the following objectives:
    • Highlight role of tourism as employment driver and enabler for capacity building.
    • Reiterate importance of partnership with multiple airlines and other players for connectivity to avoid service monopoly in tourism destinations which hampers growth of the industry.
    • Emphasize tourism’s contribution to inclusive growth especially in remote areas by leveraging digital tools.

B. Priority Countries

  • Countries were prioritized in varying tiers (number of member companies):
    • Thailand = Tier 1 (5), Tier 2 (1)
    • Indonesia = Tier 1 (5), Tier 2 (1)
    • Malaysia = Tier 1 (4), Tier 2 (2)
    • Vietnam = Tier 1 (4), Tier 2 (1)
    • Singapore = Tier 1 (1), Tier 2 (2)
    • Philippines – Tier 1 (1)

C. Activities and Engagements

  • ASEAN level
    • The Committee agreed with member proposal to deliver a White Paper on Emerging Policies Impacting Tourism in time for 2020 ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting.
    • The Committee will further explore Digital Economy and Marketing Partnerships in ASEAN Tourism Competitive Committee (ATCC) 2019 meetings.
    • The Committee will discuss 2019 activities with the ASEAN Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism Development Committee in the next Committee Call.
  • Country level
    • Tourism SME Workshops should be continued in 2019.
    • Industry Missions or Roundtables will be explored in 2019.