ASEAN tourism ministers agreed during a video conference today (29.4.2020) to boost cooperation within the bloc to quickly revive tourism after the coronavirus pandemic eases, PostToday reported.
Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan conferred with his counterparts from the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports with Cambodian Tourism Minister Dr Thong Khon presiding over the talks.
In reviving this key industry the ministers agreed to focus on exchange of information and best practices in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Asean Tourism Crisis Communications Team (ATCCT) will be in charge of promoting a timely exchange of trustworthy information as well as seeking the cooperation of Asean dialogue and strategic partners plus those with interest in supporting and helping the tourism sector in handling economic challenges brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Pipat said Thailand had already implemented the first phase measures to alleviate the impact of this pandemic on entrepreneurs and the workers of this industry. Split up into two parts, the measures included financial and monetary assistance and helping reinstate those who have been affected.
The second phase includes measures to strengthen and maintain tourism capabilities; boosting revenue of tourism establishments; developing the skills of the personnel in this industry; establishing tourism and sanitation safety standards; supporting tourism operators; and ensuring effective communication.
A joint statement was issued, entitled “Joint Statement of the Asean Tourism Ministers on Strengthening Cooperation to Revitalise Asean Tourism”, with the key points being as follows:
- Support continuous coordination in the control of Covid-19 pandemic through the Asean Tourism Crisis Communication Team (ATCCT).
- Strengthen the cooperation between national tourism organizations with other relevant Asean agencies as well as external partners especially in public health, information, transportation and immigration areas.
- Promote cooperation in information exchange and best practices among Asean member countries and the bloc’s dialogue partners in responding to crises, ensuring communication readiness, cooperating with relief efforts during national disasters, as well as other measures to support tourism industry including learning from experience and being better prepared to cooperate and handle epidemics or other serious threats in future.
- Implement clear policies and measures to increase the confidence of tourists both within Asean and the rest of the world including setting standards and clear guidelines on taking good care of the environment.
- Support the development of post-Covid-19 crisis recovery plans and implementing the said plans. These include enhancing the potential of Asean, cooperating with interested parties to boost the confidence of both businessmen and tourists with marketing and promotion of Asean as a shared tourism destination being among the steps.
- Giving more importance to economic policy at both the micro and macro levels. This will be done by supporting various interested parties in the tourism industry with steps including technical and financial support, tax relief, and skill enhancement, especially digital skills.
- Seek cooperation of Asean dialogue partners and related international organizations, including interest parties, to prepare Southeast Asian region for sustainable tourism management after the coronavirus crisis eases.
Above: Tourists having fun at Phuket’s Nai Harn beach before the coronavirus spread across the world. Photo: Phuket@photographer.net (CC-by-2.0)
Below: Tourists shopping at Chaing Mai’s Night Bazaar before the Covid-19 outbreak emptied cities worldwide. Photo: David McKelvey (CC-BY-2.0)