PM Lee Hsien Loong launches visit ASEAN@50 campaign

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Le Luong Minh – the ASEAN Secretary General and ASEAN tourism ministers launched the VisitASEAN@50 Golden Celebration tourism campaign on January 18.

The flowering of tourism in Southeast Asia: Prime Minister Lee (centre), ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh (at centre table right) and ASEAN tourism ministers launch VisitASEAN@50 and reveal a new ASEAN genus of orchid for the 50th anniversary of the association. Photo courtesy: ASEAN Tourism Forum

The campaign was launched at the opening of ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Singapore, to attract 121 million tourists to Southeast Asia in 2017.

The campaign promotes the twin objectives of commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and embracing the ASEAN region as a single and united tourism destination.

Prime Minister Lee while addressing the ASEAN Tourism Forum opening. Photo courtesy: ASEAN Tourism Forum

PM Lee called for better connectivity in his speech and urged fellow member countries not to shy away from “less glamorous” tourism development tasks such as building new infrastructure, enhancing training and reducing red tape.

He also said that he would like to see ASEAN strengthen air links, boost cruise tourism and develop tourism’s human resource skills.

Specifically selected by the 10 member countries of ASEAN, fifty special tour packages are the main draw of the tourism campaign, which is supported by globally recognised companies such as AirAsia and MasterCard.

The VisitASEAN@50 campaign comes at a time when tourism has been a star performer in Southeast Asia, rising from 42 million international arrivals to the region in 2000 to 108 million in 2015, according to numbers provided by the ASEAN Secretariat.