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February 19, 2024

Thailand Leads the Way in ASEAN’s Cross-Border Tourism Initiative

Phuket Thailand
Phuket Thailand
February 19, 2024

The ASEAN Drive Tourism scheme, in alignment with the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (2016-2025), was approved at the 27th ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2024. Spearheaded by Thailand, this pioneering initiative offers travelers the seamless experience of exploring Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia as a single tourism destination. Leaders from across ASEAN nations emphasize that the initiative will promote land connectivity to boost economic value and promote cultural attractions. Drawing parallels to Europe’s Schengen Agreement, this visionary initiative, known as Seamless ASEAN, was championed by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during the World Economic Forum. 
The Government of Thailand's Tourism Minister, Sudawan Wangsuphakitkosol, has announced that the Tourism Ministry will unveil the new ASEAN tourism routes at the world’s largest tourism fair, Germany’s ITB Berlin, on March 5-7, 2024. The scheme is anticipated not only to enhance tourism within Thailand but also to solidify the country’s position as a pivotal tourism hub in Southeast Asia. Thailand has already submitted two overland routes to Vietnam, one traversing Laos and the other Cambodia. In alignment with Cambodia’s vision for the ASEAN Drive Tourism scheme, discussions are underway to leverage the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) visa to enhance the service sector in secondary cities. Additionally, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Laos, in alignment with the Seamless ASEAN initiative, aim to promote their countries’ rich ecological heritage through nature, culture and adventure. 
Detailed discussions on the comprehensive implementation of the Seamless ASEAN tourism destination are slated for future meetings, including at the ASEAN Summit later in 2024. These deliberations will provide an invaluable opportunity for ASEAN member states to chart a course for the sustainable development of the region's tourism sector in the years leading up to 2025 and beyond. 

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