ASEAN Tourism Forum kicks off in Myanmar

Some 2,000 tourism professionals gather for event

The ASEAN Tourism Forum appears to be doing a great job of promoting the region of Southeast Asia as a single tourist destination. Rotating between ASEAN’s ten member nations, the travel trade event is increasing by size every year.

Myanmar is playing host for the first time since it became a full-fledged member of ASEAN in 1997, and this year’s event has attracted more exhibitors than ever before. In 2010, in Brunei, the forum had 373 exhibition booths. This year, in Myanmar, there are no less than 527, including a thousand sellers comprising hoteliers, operators, agencies, national tourist boards, airline professionals, restaurateurs, attractions and theme park owners.

At the forum, buyers and sellers can experience Asian hospitality and cultural diversity at its best, involving all of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The forum’s 34th edition, at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Nay Pyi Taw, is welcoming around 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries.

Themed “ASEAN – Tourism Towards Peace, Prosperity and Partnership”, ATF 2015 was officially opened this week at a ceremony that included Myanmar President U Thein Sein and UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

At the ceremony Myanmar was formally presented the award for Best in Travel – AEC Country 2014 by Lonely Planet Traveller. The ASEAN Tourism Association Awards for Excellence and cultural performances were also part of the visually spectacular program.

TRAVEX, a two-day travel exhibition component of ATF beginning today, has attracted strong participation.

“It is encouraging and heartening to see so many local companies participating given that this is the first time Myanmar is hosting ATF,” said U Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, chairman of Myanmar Tourism Marketing. “It is also a reflection of the rapidly growing tourism industry in Myanmar. We [want] to share our country’s beauties and hospitality with all ATF participants.”

TTG Nordic

[image courtesy ASEAN Tourism Forum]