It seems that 2016 is the year when the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members depend more on each other for that much coveted tourist arrivals and tourism receipts than ever before. During the recent ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2016 in Manila from 18 until 22 January 2016, Gaya Travel Magazine noticed that more push is being given towards intra-ASEAN travel – besides emphasis on East and South Asia – to offset the decline of arrivals from long-haul markets like North America and Europe due to the challenging global economic climate. The association intends to create more awareness among ASEAN travellers to explore more of the region.

On top of that, ASEAN members are also developing inter-country packages such as Malaysia-Indonesia for Middle East markets and Thailand-Myanmar-Cambodia-Vietnam for international markets. At the same time, cruise packages that link ASEAN destinations are also developed due to its strong potential in enriching travellers’ experience, besides air and land connectivity. ASEAN members realise the need to improve on infrastructure to make intra-ASEAN linkages possible such as constructing and upgrading cruise terminals and airports, including land links and road systems to encourage self-drive among travellers. Looks like exciting times are definitely ahead for ASEAN as the region becomes more integrated economically, logistically and socially, with tourism as a key driver.


Below are some points that we hope would entice readers to explore more of the ASEAN region:

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  • The ATF 2016 is a cooperative regional effort to promote ASEAN as a single destination with diverse attractions. This annual event involves all tourism industry sectors from ASEAN member countries. Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the ASEAN countries. ATF 2016 in Manila marks the 35th anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981. The next ATF (ATF 2017) will be held in Singapore from 16 until 20 January 2017.
  • The forum is ideal for international buyers and media to gather the latest information on ASEAN tourism products and services, establish new business contacts and learn about tourism trade in the region.


Gaya Travel Magazine extends our heartfelt gratitude to the organisers of ATF 2016, the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and TTG Asia, for making our participation in ATF 2016 a reality.

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