As a tourist , be a privy to ASEAN Experience!
The ASEAN Promotional Chapter for Tourism (APCT) – India Chapter got together in Mumbai on August 26, 2015 at ITC Grand Maratha Ball Room to promote ASEAN as a single and collective tourism destination to the Indian audience. APCT was conceived by the member countries of the ASEAN as part of its efforts to leverage the tremendous tourism potential of the region. More than 200 members of the trade fraternity, media and high level officials attended the meet here.
Mr Manoharan Periasamy, Chairman APCT – India Chapter said, “South East Asia has always been an attractive destination for Indians. In fact, India has consistently been one of the top 10 tourist generating markets to this region. Last year we had over 102 million visitors to the ASEAN countries and over 3 million were from India.” Mr Manoharan Periasamy is also Director, Tourism Malaysia, India.
“Historically Indians have been visiting Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. ASEAN has much to offer with the inherent diversity in terms of peoples, lifestyle, culture, religion and culinary experience, together with the rich natural landscape and deep historical heritage. Last year Myanmar saw a 50% increase in their tourist arrivals and India was a major contributor to it. Places like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are also fast featuring on the Indian must visit countries list. These are all positive signs for us at APCT”, added Mr. Periasamy.
ASEAN recognizes the strategic role of the Tourism Sector in its economic growth and hopes that by 2025, the region will be a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse ASEAN experience, and will be committed to responsible, sustainable and inclusive tourism development, so as to contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of ASEAN people.
Through the APCT, numerous initiatives are being taken to ensure that the tourists get the best during their holidays in the ASEAN region. Special emphasis is being laid on enhancing product development through regional packages, increase in public awareness of ASEAN products and offerings, facilitation of intra-ASEAN travel etc. APCT is also identifying ways to standardise and implement a certain level of standard of tourism. Each individual country has been assigned the role of lead coordinators to ensure that the tourists can expect world-class facilities when they visit the South East Asian Nations. Areas like Homestay, Spa service, Security and safety guidelines, Clean tourist City standards, community based tourism standards are being finely looked into.
With some of the world’s best travelling experience awaiting the tourists at the ASEAN region, the members of the travel trade were urged to create special ASEAN packages like the immensely popular European packages. The ASEAN region has a plethora of offerings for the traveller: the best shopping destinations, theme parks for children, unexplored islands and adventure, cruise tourism, exotic spa treatments and the most beautiful wedding and honeymoon locales.
Officials at the APCT – India Chapter opined that the current need for multiple visas is hindering cross border tourism in the region. They informed that a proposal for an ASEAN Common Visa for non-ASEAN nationals to facilitate business mobility and tourism is in discussion. Smaller schemes such as the Cambodia-Thailand single visa have already been implemented and they have proven successful. Another example is the Malaysian VOA for Indian tourists coming from Singapore and Thailand.
Speaking at the event, Mr Dhananjay Saliankar, Regional Director, Starwood Sales Organisation, South Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts said, “Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has a good presence in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. We have also entered new markets like Laos, Cambodia and Philippines in the recent past. Also Indians are familiar with our brands here in the country, be it Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridien, St Regis, W hotels or The Luxury Collection. So they look out for our brands in their holiday destinations and prefer to stay with us.” Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,200 properties in over 100 countries. The chain operates over 65 hotels in the ASEAN region and is hopeful of increase in business especially in the MICE sector.
APCT – India Chapter aims to strengthen the presence of ASEAN region in the travel market, and to keep India’s travel trade, media and corporate sector updated on the current issues and tourism development in the region.
Last year the ASEAN region saw 102 million visitors with Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, being the top 5 visited countries and Myanmar and Laos registering the highest growth of 53% and 10% respectively.