ASEAN member countries urged to build tourist site trademarks

Delegates to the ASEAN Tourism Conference emphasized the need to increase the concerted efforts to build up trademarks for tourist sites in Southeast Asia.

The meeting, held in Hanoi on Jan. 10 within the framework of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2009, brought together representatives from tourism associations and companies of the ASEAN member countries and its partner nations.

The participants discussed tourism development in the world and in member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in recent years, and shared experiences and initiatives to foster the growth of the non-smoking industry.

Gregory Duffell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, noted that over the past five years, the region’s tourism sector has been adversely affected by various crises, including bird flu outbreaks, earthquakes and strikes.

To develop tourism in a sustainable way, the regional nations should map out plans to control these crises and economic slowdown, Duffell said, stressing that the move is a key to success.

The region’s tourism industry is forecast to post a growth rate of five to six percent in the years to come, equivalent to three to five million visitors per annum.

Therefore, ASEAN member countries should focus on upgrading hotels and restaurants to ensure security for tourists, according to the executive.

He also pointed to training skilled tourism workers and reducing prices of tourism products and services as important solutions for the region to further develop its tourism industry.

Mekong Tourism Company’s Executive Director Mason Florence said it is necessary to form a common trademark for the entire Greater Mekong Sub-region because no single tourist site could exist by itself.

To reach the target, private and state-owned companies should work together closely and be more active to participate in fairs and exhibitions to promote the region’s image and tourism products to clients, Florence said.

The director went on to say that governments of the regional countries need to create a more open legal framework and simplify procedures to facilitate holidaymakers’ access to tourist destinations.

On this occasion, the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a memorandum of understanding on a project designed to build the trademark and improve competitiveness of the bloc’s tourism industry.

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