Asean-Japan Centre promotes tourism services trade in Asean

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) - The Asean-Japan Centre (AJC) organised a seminar on promoting trade in tourism services in Asean at Novotel Hua Hin Cha Am Beach Resort and Spa, Thailand from November 30 to December 2. This is the fourth seminar of a series of seminars on promoting services trade.

The objectives of the seminars are: enhancing domestic capacities in select services through understanding better the issues, difficulties and challenges faced by Asean and options for Asean to consider how they can overcome them; providing participants with opportunities to learn and gain capacities; and exchanging best practices and policy options among Asean member states and contributing to the Asean Economic Community (AEC) process in the area of Asean Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) and Asean Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA).

In cooperating with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, the centre invited 52 participants including government officials from 10 Asean member states, private sectors both from Japan and Thailand, officials from the Asean Secretariat, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Hua Hin / Cha-Am Tourism Association Secretariat.

With the 50th year anniversary of the establishment of Asean, the region achieved almost full liberalisation in the goods trade. However, there is slow progress in services trade liberalisation. This seminar aimed at promoting concrete policy recommendation for sustainable tourism development, using the centre’s technical paper, Promoting Services Trade in Asean: Tourism, as a background document.

All members shared and agreed that tourism contributed to the world welfare and economic growth as well as promote peace and stability for the world. The meeting discussed important factors to increase expenditures; value added to the economy through direct impact or direct spending in the tourism sector; indirect impact via multiplier effects of tourism sector or indirect value added created in tourism; and total value added created in the economy through the tourism activities.

The activities concluded with a field trip to Hua Hin and Cha-Am for exchanging the best practices related to tourism on education and tourism destination in Hua Hin and Cha-Am, Thailand.