Q&A with Asean's Le Luong Minh

The Asean Secretary General provides updates on tourism integration in Southeast Asia

December 12, 2013
Q&A with Asean's Le Luong Minh

How important is the role of tourism in Asean’s development plans?
Asean tourism has significant potential to become a major socio-economic driver for growth and a tool for development in the Asean region. In 2012, Asean received over 87 million international visitors, with intra-Asean travel as the major source market for Asean tourism with a share of 46%. Given this promising outlook, tourism plays an important role as an instrument for the alleviation of poverty, improvement of people’s quality of life and [is] contributing greatly to economic and social development in Asean.

What would you like to see happen to further improve cross-border road transport within Asean?
Cross-border road transport is one of the key components of land transport. The intention of the Asean Framework Agreement on Cross Border Transport of Passengers (CBTP) is to facilitate cross border road transport of people between and among Asean member states through simplification and harmonisation With the conclusion of the agreement, we would expect much more seamless land travel, which, in the end, will further develop tourism in the region.

How important is it for each Asean country to promote simplified visa procedures to facilitate travel by non-Asean visitors?
Recognising that a single tourist visa could substantially benefit travel facilitation and the tourism industry in the region, Asean member states continue to promote an Asean common visa. Significant progress was made by Thailand and Cambodia when they agreed to implement a single visa agreement. Since December 2012 non-Asean visitors just need to obtain one visa to visit both countries. Within the context of ACMECS, which is a sub-regional arrangement comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, the idea of a common tourist visa is also enjoying broad support.

Asean is now placing a lot of emphasis on sustainable tourism practices.
To promote the sustainability of the tourism industry, the Asean Green Hotel Awards are granted biannually to hotels and resorts. For consideration are various energy conservation measures based upon a set of criteria agreed [to] by Asean member states. These include environmental policies and actions for hotel operations, use of green products, and collaboration with the local community including human resource development, and energy and water efficiency.

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