ASEAN Agrees Seven Tourism Cooperation Efforts Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

JAKARTA, Indonesia, May 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — ASEAN member countries agreed seven cooperation efforts on tourism sector as a mitigation measure towards the tourism sector which is considered as the hardest sector hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia's Vice Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Angela Tanoesoedibjo
Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Angela Tanoesoedibjo

The Vice Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Angela Tanoesoedibjo represented Indonesia on the tourism ministerial meeting of ASEAN countries entitled "Special Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers (M-ATM) on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)" on Wednesday night (29/4/2020).

The meeting resulted joint statement which containing seven points of agreement from all tourism ministers of the ASEAN countries to strengthen the tourism cooperation, one of the hardest hits of economic sectors in the pandemic.

  1. The Minister of Tourism agrees to foster ASEAN coordination in accelerating the exchange of information about travel, especially one related to health standards and other measures needed by the ASEAN member countries in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak through the increased operation of the ASEAN Tourism Crisis Communication Team (ATCCT).
  2. Intensifying the collaboration of ASEAN National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) with other relevant sectors in ASEAN, especially in the sectors of health, information, transportation, immigration as well as ASEAN external partners, to collectively implement the comprehensive measures, transparent, and quick response in mitigating and reducing the impact of the COVID-29 and other crisis in the future.
  3. The tourism ministers also to enhance a closer cooperation in sharing information and best practices among ASEAN member countries as well as with ASEAN dialogue partners in supporting the tourism sector.
  4. The cooperation covers the implementation of policies and effective measures to increase the trust of domestic and international visitors to South East Asia, including the development of standards and guidelines in improving the security and health factors for protecting the employees and communities in hotel industry and others which is related to tourism.
  5. The tourism ministers also agree to support the development and implementation of crisis recovery plan post the COVID-19 as well as efforts on the promotion and marketing of joint tourism with the aim of advancing ASEAN as a single tourism destination.
  6. The tourism ministers agree to accelerate the implementation of micro and macro economy, provide technical support and financial stimulus, tax relief, capacity and skill improvement, especially on the digital skill of the stakeholders in tour and travel industry.
  7. Accelerate the cooperation with ASEAN dialogue partners, international organizations and relevant industries to build a strong and prepared Southeast Asia to effectively implement and manage tourism that is sustainable and inclusive after the crisis.

Angela stated that Indonesia is committed with all ASEAN member countries to encourage a shared vision of mitigating and restoring the tourism sector, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Several studies state that it needs, at least, five years for the tourism sector to return to the normal condition after the COVID-19. But I believe that ASEAN is better than that, the tourism in our region will recover faster under one condition, we have to strengthen the cooperation and collaboration," Angela said.

The ASEAN member countries reported the tourism performance which decrease around 36 percent on the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019.

The number of international tourists’ visit is recorded to decrease around 34 percent, and the current room availability is at the lowest point. Also, there are many cancellations from the tour and travel industry.

The ASEAN member countries have revised or are correcting their target of international tourists visit and revenue from the tourism sector.

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