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Kuching, 10 January 2014 – With just days to the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), the state of Sarawak  and host city of Kuching, are all geared to welcome over 1,600 delegates that includes ASEAN Tourism Ministers and officials, exhibitors, international buyers, international and local media as well as tourism trade visitors.

Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to deliver a key note address at the official opening ceremony on January 20. The ATF is the first major international conference in conjunction with the start of Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.

The ATF is a cooperative regional effort to position and promote the ASEAN region as one tourist destination where Asian hospitality and cultural diversity are at its best.

Adopting the theme, ASEAN – ADVANCING TOURISM TOGETHER, the ATF 2014 will deliberate and explore the sustainable development of tourism and look at how various tourism initiatives and plans can further support the mantra of Tourism Conserves, Preserves and Protects.

“Malaysia is honoured to continue the spirit and tradition of the ASEAN Tourism Forum which embraces the role of being a catalyst for change in tourism policy and development, and subsequently improving the economic and social standing among ASEAN countries,” said the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

“Malaysia is pleased to have the presence of ASEAN Ministers of Tourism from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Dialogue Partners from China, Japan, Korea, India, Russia and Brazil. The ASEAN Tourism Ministers will also be having consultations with international organisations namely United Nations World Tourism Organisation, World Travel & Tourism Council and PATA.

“The ministerial meetings are aimed at promoting an exchange of ideas, review of industry developments and joint formulation of recommendations to further accelerate the growth of ASEAN tourism,” he continued.

As the annual convention of the ASEAN tourism industry, ATF comprises ASEAN Tourism Ministerial Meetings, the ASEAN Tourism Conference and a 3-day TRAVEX event. 

The unique and specialised ATF TRAVEX makes it easy and convenient for suppliers of ASEAN tourism products and services and international buyers to conduct business and meet quality participants through the Seller-Meet-Buyer (SMB) and the Buyer-Meet-Seller (BMS) appointment scheduling sessions. Both parties can maximise their participation through flexible one-to-one pre-scheduled meetings to explore, negotiate and ink deals with each other. ATF TRAVEX 2014 will be held at The Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

The ASEAN Tourism Conference will see several prominent leaders in the industry taking the stage to share their experiences and know-how.

AirAsia CEO, Aireen Omar, will address on ASEAN open skies policy, while Princess Cruises Southeast Asia Director, Farriek Tawfik, will share insights on the cruise and sea transportation sector.

The Operations Director of Bangkok’s Mass Transit System, Sumit Srisanthitum, will talk on latest trends on ground transportation, while UNWTO Regional Director, Xu Jing, will talk about river-based tourism.

To date, there are 879 sellers and 462 buyers already confirmed for the ATF TRAVEX. A total of 100 local and international media have also confirmed to cover the ATF.

This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10-member nations of ASEAN namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It is the sixth time that Malaysia hosts the ATF after Genting Highlands in 1981, Langkawi and Penang in 1992, Kuala Lumpur in 1997 and Langkawi again in 2005.

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