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Press Release On 17th ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting, 13th ASEAN+China, Japan and Republic of Korea and ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014 18-23 January 2014 in Kuching, Sarawak State, Malaysia

Press Release
On
17th ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting, 13th ASEAN+China, Japan and
Republic of Korea and ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014
18-23 January 2014 in Kuching, Sarawak State, Malaysia

H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism has led the delegations of Ministry of Tourism to attend the 33th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2014) under the theme of “ASEAN-Advancing Tourism Together” in Kuching city, Sarawak State, Malaysia on 19-23 January 2014. During ATF 2014, there has been a number of meetings including the Seventeenth Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers (17th M-ATM), the Thirteenth Meeting of the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) Tourism Ministers and Tourism Trade Fair (Travex).

  1.  the Seventeenth Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers:
    The meeting was convened under some main agendas as followed:

    1. The progress report on the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2012-2015 (ATSP 2011-2015), endorsed in January 2011 in Phnom Penh, which has so far been implemented more than 75%, along with the post-2015  vision for tourism development towards  ASEAN as a tourist destination with quality and ASEAN feels the warmth. Remarkably, in 2013 ASEAN received around 90.2 international tourists with the increase of 12%, compared to the same period of 2012, in which 46% from the intra ASEAN with an increase of 10%. According to ATSP 2011-2015, in 2015 ASEAN will receive around 107 international tourists.  For Cambodia, in 2013, we received more than 4.2 international tourists with an increase of 18%, compared to the same period of 2012. Cambodia is predicted to receive around 5 million international tourists in 2015 and 7.5 million in 2020. 
    2. The facilitation of travel and connectivity: the meeting has discussed about the possibility of establishing the common visa for ASEAN region.
    3. Encouraging the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals: so far, 144 toolboxes in four services of the hotel industry, has now been completed and Cambodia and Indonesia have been recognized as the leading countries in this agreement implementation. To boost this process, the meeting has agreed on the creation of regional secretariat to be based in Jakarta, Indonesia. In addition, the meeting has also decided to integrate the MICE standard into the MRA framework implementation.
    4. ASEAN Tourism quality assurance: Besides the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard, the ASEAN Tourist Clean City Standard and the ASEAN Spa and Wellness Standard, which are already completed, the meeting has tasked the relevant working group to finalize the ASEAN Homestay Standard, the ASEAN Public Toilet Standard and the ASEAN Community-Based Tourism Standard by 2015. For Cambodia, after accomplishing the assignment as the chairman of Tourist Clean City Standard, it has now been reassigned to lead Community-Based Tourism (CBT) Standard.
    5. Boosting and implementing ASEAN tourism marketing strategy, through the ASEAN webpage (www.aseantourism.travel), Multi-Country Packages, Social Media, the strategy for Experimental and Creative Market (2014-2016), the strategy for Business Travel Market (2014-2017), and the Strategy for the Adventure Tourism Market (2014-017).
    6. ASEAN Tourism Product Development: There are 133 tourism products, classified in 4 categories: Nature-based tourism, Cultural and Heritage Tourism, Community-based Tourism, Cruise Tourism and River-based Tourism. The Meeting has also determined the Health and Wellness tourism as a new ASEAN tourism product in the ATSP 2011-2015, and encouraged the development of Eco-Tourism plan for ASEAN.
    7. Encouraging and boosting ASEAN cooperation and its partnerships. 
      On the occasion of 17th M-ATM, ASEAN Green Hotel awards have been offered (for the period of two years 2014-2016) to 10 hotels in each ASEAN nation including 10 hotels from Cambodia namely:
      1. Angkor Miracle Resort & Spa Siem Reap Province
      2. Sokhalay Angkor Resort & Spaa Siem Reap Province
      3. City River Hotel Siem Reap Province
      4. Amansara Hotel Siem Reap Province
      5. Kingdom Angkor Hotel Siem Reap Province
      6. Golden Sand Hotel Kampongsom Province
      7. Thansure Bokor Hotel Kampot Province
      8. Ly-Cheu Hotel Kratie Province
      9. Dara Airport Hotel Phnom Penh City
      10. Green Palace Hotel Phnom Penh City
    8. ASEAN cooperation with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
      The meeting adopted the ASEAN Joint Declaration on the Implementation of Code of Ethics for Tourism in recognition of the important roles and contributions tourism sector made to economic and social development in the region, especially in improving the quality of the lives of the people 
  2. 13th ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and Republic of Korea) Tourism Ministers’ Meeting 
    In this session, the meeting noted the implementation progress of the APT Tourism Cooperation Work Plan 2013-2017 and agreed on the establishment of E-tourism working group to implement the plan effectively.  The meeting has also recognized the crucial roles of ASEAN-China Center, ASEAN-Japan Center, and ASEAN-Korea Center for the good cooperation in the past, highlighting the appreciation of ASEAN-China center for filming the Cities of Hopes, and the ASEAN-Korea center for organizing the Joint Cultural Performance in ASEAN nation. 

    During the NTOs and M-ATM, Cambodia has informed and invited all participating countries and the private sectors to join the PATA Travel Mart 2014 and others related meetings and International Conference on Ecotourism, particularly ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum which is scheduled to be held on September 2014, and to join World Conference on Tourism and Culture to be organized by Ministry of Tourism of Cambodian, in the collaboration with the UNWTO and UNESCO on February 2015. 

    The Opening Ceremony of ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014 is presided over by Excellency Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Excellency Abdul Taib Mahmud, Head of State of Sarawak of Malaysia with the participation of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, Head of the delegations, New Dress Up Games Popular Games delegates from ASEAN nations, high representatives of the UNWTO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), International Media Network and other important related stakeholders who always care and pay attentively to details the sustainable and responsible tourism development. 
  3. ASEAN Tourism Fair Event (TRAVEX)
    The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2014 with the theme of “ASEAN: Advancing Tourism Together”, was attended by 462 international buyers and 879 sellers with 353 booths as well as 75 media from all over the world. The Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia and certain private sectors from the tourism industry have also joint this TRAVEX.
  4. Bilateral Meetings
    H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism takes the advantage to have some bilateral meetings as follows:

    1. the meeting with H.E. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO where both parties have discussed and agreed on:
      • The cooperation of organizing World Conference on Tourism and Culture on February 2014 in Siem Reap province in collaboration between the Royal Government of Cambodia, UNESCO, UNWTO with the participation of Tourism Ministers and Culture Ministers around the world, senior experts, international and national speakers and private sectors altogether around 1000 participants.
      • The cooperation of organizing International Conference under the theme of “ Community Development” 2014 in Phnom Penh in conjunction with PATA Travel Mart Tourism Fair and ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum (ATIF).
      • Continuously supporting the implementation of the second step of the STEP program for promoting poverty alleviation through tourism industry in the framework of Mekong Discovery Trail.
      • Supporting the technical aid and finance for implementing Heritage Management Framework (HMF) with APASARA authority.
      • Supporting the study of Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) in which H.E Secretary-General will organize a regional workshop in Cambodia which is chosen as the pilot center for 6 countries of the Sub-regional Mekong Committee.
      • Helping Cambodia to build and organize Tourism Professional Center of Excellence in Cambodia.
    2. The meeting with H.E. Romon R.Jimenez, Secretary of Tourism, Philippines:
      Philippine has asked for exchanging the experience with Cambodia on how to manage and to preserve and conserve the world cultural heritage at Angkor site, since Philippines has been seriously affected by Hayan storm, damaging many cultural heritage site. In response, Cambodia has suggested to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the requested matter. 
    3. The meeting with H.E Chung Hae Moon, Secretary General, ASEAN-Korea Center:
      HE Secretary General has requested Cambodia to facilitate in organizing joint cultural performance which will be held on 17 March 2014 in Siem Reap province. 
    4. The meeting with H.E Abdul Taib Mahmud, Head of State, Sarawak, Malaysia:
      The meeting has discussed and urged the direct flight from Sarawak State to Cambodia; moreover, both sides have encouraged the exchanging of experience in tourism management and development. 

      In response to the invitation of host country, Malaysia, H.E Dr Thong Khon has made an field visit to ecotourism site for study experience of its infrastructure management and Homesaty in Annah Rais Long House and Homestay in Padawan distric, Sarwak State, Malaysia.

      It is also to note that Sarawak is one of the states in Malaysia, who see development in all sectors including tourism sector with the great potential in Ecotourism.    

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