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ASEAN aims to boost tourism sector


09-07-2016 16:31 BJT

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has launched a tourism campaign at the ASEAN Summit. The effort looks to turn the region into a 'single and united yet diverse' tourism destination. 

ASEAN is aiming to put its weight behind developing tourism in the coming decade. ASEAN hopes tourism will contribute 15 percent of the region's GDP and 7 percent of its jobs by 2025. Experts say tourism has been a hot spot in the sluggish regional economy. The sector provides a boost to a range of related businesses and small- and medium-sized companies are benefiting.

Wichai Kinchong Choi, senior vice president of Kasikorn Bank, said, "Thailand's economic growth has been rather slow and sluggish over the past two years, due to the impact of the global economy. But tourism is one of the few bright spots. Tourism benefits related industries, such as retail and transportation. So tourism companies are not the only beneficiary.

In the meantime, China has become an important partner for ASEAN in its effort to achieve its tourism ambitions.

China ambassador to ASEAN, Xu Bu, said, "The two sides are stepping up cooperation in bilateral exchanges. The bilateral flow of people reached 23 million last year. Besides, China has become the biggest source of tourists for ASEAN."

However, analysts say bolstering the region's tourist markets won't be so easy. The analysts say that because of varying levels of tourism infrastructure and unsatisfactory connectivity, the effort will require coordinated efforts by the ASEAN members.

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