ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA), together with Taylor’s University, Malaysia and Universitas Pancasila, Indonesia recently co-organized the 12th ATRA Tourism Forum entitled "ASEAN Connectivity: Going Forward with Tourism". The forum was hosted by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Devi Roza Kausar, Board of Director of ATRA & Dean at Faculty of Tourism, Universitas Pancasila.
The Opening Remark was delivered by Prof. Dr. Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, President of ATRA and Executive Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, Taylor's University. Meanwhile, Dra. Yulia MT, Director of Inter-institutional Relations, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia was the invited Keynote Speaker of the forum.
The session was moderated by I Made Adhi Gunadi, Head of Event Management Study Programme, Faculty of Tourism, Universitas Pancasila. Key representatives from the Hospitality and Tourism sector in ASEAN were invited to share their views. The esteemed Panel Speakers comprised of Assistant Prof. Dr. Pornpisanu Promsivapallop, Dean, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Prince of Songkla University; Dr. Jenny Panchal, Senior Lecturer, James Cook University; Dr. Agoes Tinus Lis Indrianto, Dean, School of Tourism, Universitas Ciputra Surabaya and Mr. Khoo Hock Aun, Convenor of Global Sustainability Summits and Dialogues, Asia Pacific and ASEAN Green Chamber of Commerce. About 200 participants attended the forum in-person and virtually.
Several contemporary issues influencing the arrivals were critically discussed by the Panel Speakers. ASEAN connectivity can help the tourism industry in many ways by improving accessibility, enhancing collaboration, providing economic benefits and promoting cultural exchange. The Panel Speakers highlighted that collaboration between neighboring regions can lead to improved planning and coordination of tourism-related activities. This can include joint marketing campaigns, coordinated event planning and the creation of shared tourism products or packages. By working together, regional destinations can offer tourists a more comprehensive and diverse set of experiences, which increase the appeal of the region as a whole.
In a nutshell, the tourism industry in ASEAN is expected to continue growing in 2023, with a focus on sustainable tourism, digital technology, diversification of tourism offerings and infrastructure development. With these developments, ASEAN countries are well-positioned to attract more tourists and continue contributing to the growth of the global tourism industry. The speakers generally stressed that the industry should strive to a balanced development in the process of restarting their business and this can result in business resiliency. Connectivity between ASEAN country members and people is believed to be the key to promoting greater tourism competitiveness and inclusivity towards pushing the region as a tourism hub.