Singapore

Asean countries launch joint tourism campaign to increase arrivals, spending

A joint marketing campaign by 10 South-east Asian countries to get more tourists to visit the region, spend more and stay longer was launched yesterday.

The campaign, called Visit Asean@50, coincides with the 50th anniversary of Asean and will highlight the region's best 50 festivals and 50 most unforgettable travel experiences.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the campaign at the opening of the five-day Asean Tourism Forum yesterday.

He said the aim is to grow international tourism arrivals to the region by 10 per cent to 121 million, spending to US$83 billion (S$118 billion) and the average length of stay from six to seven days by the end of the year.

These targets, he said, was "an entirely achievable objective".

Mr Lee suggested three ways to go beyond a marketing campaign to drive tourism growth in the region: Strengthen air links within Asean, promote cruises within the region and develop talent in the tourism industry.

The Asean Tourism Research Association will also be offering two post-graduate scholarship schemes, Mr Lee announced.

Four universities in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have pledged to offer scholarships.

Speaking to 750 participants, Mr Lee also noted the importance of regional cooperation, given recent international events. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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