ASEAN member nations have agreed to commit to a prevention plan as well as seeking cooperation from international organizations to together to revive travel confidence following the pandemic.
ASEAN seeks solutions to ease COVID-19 impacts on tourism (Photo: https://asean.org/)
According to Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, at a Special Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers on COVID-19 via video conference April 29, tourism ministers of the member nations approved in principle the Joint Statement of ASEAN Tourism Ministers on Strengthening Cooperation to Revitalise Tourism.
Local media quoted Phiphat as saying that participants were skipping any discussion of visa policy allowing ASEAN citizens to travel freely between borders.
“The visa facilitation policy will be reconsidered once ASEAN can contain the virus spread and travel restrictions in each country are lifted, allowing tourism activities to resume”, he said.
If a vaccine is not developed this year, all ASEAN members agreed to implement shared standards that highlight social distancing practices as well as safety and hygiene in tourism services.
Each country in this region shares a hopeful view that domestic tourism will restart in July, said Phiphat. The driver of international markets will be Southeast Asian tourists, before expanding to Asia overall, he said.
He added that if the situation in Asia, including China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, can improve by the last quarter, intra-Asia tourism will help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic in the region.
According to the official, countries where economic growth relies heavily on tourism such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are suffering the worst losses, followed by Indonesia and the Philippines. Meanwhile, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are facing less impacts on their tourism industries./.