First and Foremost, on behalf of the Organising Committee of ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2020 and the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Brunei Darussalam, it is my great honour to welcome, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah lbni Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Senior Minister at The Prime Minister’s Office to grace and officiate the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2020 this evening.
I would also like to warmly welcome Your Excellency Tourism Ministers; Deputy-Secretary General of ASEAN; High Commissioners and Ambassadors; Distinguished Heads of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs); Delegates; friends from the media; Ladies and Gentlemen; to Brunei Darussalam for the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2020.
Increased growth in tourist arrivals to ASEAN
The ASEAN Tourism industry has seen significant growth in the last decade and continues to be an important contributor to socio- economic development in ASEAN. ASEAN welcomed over 133 Million international arrivals in 2019, an increase by 7 percent from 2018, with intra-ASEAN travel comprising 36.7 percent of international arrivals in 2018.
Sustainable Tourism Development
The increased number of visitor arrivals into ASEAN present itself with opportunities, in terms of generating economic activities, investment and employment. While the tourism industry has shown significant growth in the number of tourist arrivals, it also faces challenges including, among others, in terms of the carrying capacity of tourist sites, as well as in providing tourism facilities and services expected by different sets of visitor groups in each of the ASEAN Member State.
ASEAN - Towards a Next Generation of Travel
This year’s theme “ASEAN – Together Towards a Next Generation of Travel”, reflects the way in which the tourism industry is rapidly progressing. ASEAN Tourism greatly recognizes that innovation and technology brings benefits to the tourism industry, and shapes the way in which governments, key stakeholders and communities embrace the current trend of digital transformation.
Industry partners are quickly adapting to the trends of changing travel patterns and tourist behaviours because of technological advancements. These advancements have provided endless possibilities for businesses to grow into new areas, such as offering augmented and virtual reality experiences, mobile applications that can customize to tourists’ personal preferences, and providing smart, as well as easy access in making online reservation and purchases at tourist destinations.
Digitalization will continue to evolve in a collaborative ecosystem to add value for a more meaningful tourism experience towards the next generation of travelers.
In this regard, ASEAN Tourism has also revamped the ASEAN Tourism website to be more user friendly, incorporating the modern needs of rising demand for digital tourism experiences and availability of information whilst reflecting the current trends of today’s generation.
Now that more people are going online and relying on digitalization, the new website also aims to be a credible online source to drive and attract more interest to the Southeast Asian region as a preferred destination to experience the culture and authentic way of life in the people of ASEAN.
This evening, we are indeed greatly privileged to have His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah lbni Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Senior Minister at The Prime Minister’s Office to launch the new ASEAN Tourism Website in conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2020.
The ASEAN Tourism Forum is 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. We look forward to an active and productive engagement over the next few days.
Finally, please allow me again on behalf of the Organising Committee to thank His Royal Highness, The Crown Prince, Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah lbni Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Senior Minister at The Prime Minister’s Office for gracing this event.
Last, but not least, we wish Tourism Ministers, Heads of NTOs and all Delegates a pleasant stay in Brunei Darussalam and a successful ASEAN Tourism Forum.