ASEAN tourism forecast to grow 6 percent

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecast the tourism industry of the ASEAN member countries could grow by an average of 6% a year in the coming years, turning ASEAN into one of the fastest tourism development regions in the world in 20 years. The organization Secretary General Taleb Rifai said on Thursday at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, that the prospects for tourism in ASEAN are promising and this is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. He said that the strengthened cooperation and concerted efforts and resources will help the region grow more steadily. However, to become "a uniform destination” in 2015, ASEAN countries are urged to reach an agreement on visa regulations, flight connections and tourist facilities.

Riphai said that UNWTO and ASEAN have agreed to cooperate in achieving a sustainable tourism industry including environmental protection and conservation of the cultural identity of each member country. The organization will support ASEAN Member countries collect data, in accordance with UN standards, and implement UNWTO’s Tourism Satellite Account in ASEAN.