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Indonesia: ambitious tourism management plan

It is a hard task to promote and host an international show as a relative newcomer on the tourism scene. Mari Elka Pangestu, the recently-appointed Minister of Indonesia, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industry, recognized that Manado - host city to the current ASEAN Travel Forum (ATF) - lacks experience. “We know that Manado had connectivity roblems for flights. However, we want to balance our promotional efforts by emphasizing to the traveling public that there are many destinations worth visiting beyond Bali,” she explained during her press conference at ATF.

The Minister has a lot of ambitions. Coming from the Trade Ministry, she takes a new pro-active role by integrating in her portfolio all the creative industry. “ oth tourism and creative industry are beneficial to each other. By creative industry, we include design, architecture, arts, fashion, culinary, or IT creation. They are all components of the tourism experience and this will be our role to foster them,” she declared.

Indonesia has the ambition to pass the eight million foreign travelers mark in 2012, a reasonable target after welcoming last year 7.6 million tourists. Growth would then reach 5.3 percent in the Ministry’s most optimistic option. The Minister recognized that Europe worsening economic crisis is likely to dampen 2012 perspectives. “We still hope to record a slight growth from European markets, which remain very important for Indonesia. But we also set our sights to promoting Indonesia to emerging markets such as the Middle East, Russia, and, of course, Asia,” added Mari Elka Pangestu.

The Minister will prioritize its promotion to 14 areas under its new Marketing Destinations Organization. They are spread all across the archipelago and include well-established destinations such as Jakarta old town (previously Batavia), Borobudur and surroundings, Bali, the Toraja land (South Celebes), and Komodo, with potential areas such as Sabang (Aceh in Sumatra), Kelimutu (Flores), Mount Rinjani (Lombok), and Raja Ampat (Indonesian Papua). Two areas are also being marked for integrated resorts - one is in Western Java, across Krakatau volcano, and another one is in Southern Lombok. “These 14 areas across the country should get absolute priority for tourism development. I want to go from a ‘wish-do’ to a ‘must-do’ list in terms of infrastructure development,” highlighted the Minister.

Mari Elka Pangesta is effectively right. If Indonesia still remains behind countries such as Thailand or Malaysia when looking at total foreign arrivals, it can blame partially the lack of proper infrastructure. “Good infrastructure is crucial to the development of new destinations, as it makes them easily accessible for travelers. We [are] currently work[ing] on Bali['s] airport expansion, with a target to have the new terminal ready by 2013. We [are] also speed[ing] up the construction of a new road from Bali airport to Sanur to relieve traffic congestion. In Sumatra, we [are] build[ing] a new road, which will reduce traveling time from Medan to Lake Toba, as well as a brand new airport,” told the Minister.

In a way, Manado turned also into a victim of all the woes which can eventually affect Indonesia’s tourism. The city was picked up by the Indonesian government, despite the absence of international flights and very limited hotel capacities. Not only international participants had to take on average three flights to arrive in Manado, but a lot of them end up in hotels being located over an hour away from the convention center. And they had to also experience almost every day, recurrent transportation problems to commute between hotels and the convention center.

Why then such a choice? According to some Indonesian journalists, Manado was only picked up due to political reasons. Once the choice proved effective, no one seemed to have really looked at ways to solve teething problems such as communication, transportation, standards of hotels, or what could be the acceptable distance to town. The result was then a disastrous PR exercise, which might affect Manado’s image for a long time. A high price to pay for a first public appearance in the international tourism arena.

SATTE 2012 : More countries to tap into India's potential this February

SATTE 2012, to be held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, from February 10-12, will see many first-time exhibitors from countries who have begun to realize the immense potential of the Indian market. For the first time at SATTE, Israel, Argentina, Japan, The Dominican Republic, and Macau will showcase the beauty of their nation to lure Indian tourists.

Additionally, as of today, SATTE 2012 has confirmed participation of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; 50 NTOs; 22 state governments; Indian and international hotel chains; and other travel and tourism products and services.

Some of the other exhibitors that are participating at SATTE 2012 are: Abu Dhabi Tourism, Accor Hotels, American Express, Axis Rooms, Best Western Hotels, Carlson Hotels, Chariot Beach Resorts, Chhattisgarh Tourism Board, Cox And
Kings Ltd., Creative Travels, Dubai- Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Department Of Tourism – Goa,, Fiji Tourism, Go India Journeys (LPTI), Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp, Hilton Worldwide, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hyatt Hotels And Resorts, Indonesia Tourism, Jharkhand Tourism, Karnataka Tourism, Kenya, Kerala Tourism, Kuoni, London&Partners, Madhya Pradesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, New
Zealand Tourism, Oman Tourism, Online Tourism&Freight P. Ltd., Punjab Tourism, Royal Orchid Hotels, Spain Tourism, SITA, Sterling Holiday Resorts India Ltd., Starwood Hotels and Resorts, The Lalit Suri Group, The Leela Palaces&Resorts, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Turkey and The Venetian Macao - Resorts&Hotels, and Zuri Hotels, among many others.


For the National Institute of Tourism Promotion of Argentina (INPROTUR), SATTE 2012 will be their very first exposure to the Indian market. Through SATTE they are looking forward to promoting and showcasing Argentina's potential as a favorable travel destination. At SATTE 2012, the National Institute of Tourism Promotion of Argentina will be participating along with key wholesalers, destinations, and tourism products of Argentina.

Argentina would like to capitalize on its diversity, and the country will be promoted as a natural, active, authentic, meetings, and gourmet destination.

“As we know, SATTE is one of the most important fairs [in] India. SATTE gives us the opportunity to promote and to show Argentina to the Indian market. Tourism for Argentina is a very important activity. Last year we received 5.3
million international tourists. This number was a record for us, and we were the first option in South America during 2010. India is an important potential market for us - a new market. We need more time to have a[n] important
performance there, but we are there," said an Argentina Tourism Board representative.

The delegation will be led by Leonardo Boto, Executive Secretary of INPROTUR.


The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is taking the Indian market quite seriously and is looking forward to welcoming Indian visitors to Japan. They are putting in place a sustained promotional campaign for Japan in India and are very optimistic and hope to achieve their arrival targets. The Japanese Embassy, too, is currently in the midst of finalizing to outsource service for handling visas, which will commence in 2012.

The Japan National Tourism Organization will be organizing multiple activities around SATTE 2012 this year. Motonari Adachi, Executive Director – Singapore Office, JNTO, said, “2012 is going to be a landmark year, as we will be celebrating [the] 60th anniversary of [the] Japan-India diplomatic relationship. So, during this period, we will also be organizing two Japan seminars for the travel trade in Delhi and Mumbai on February 13, 2012 and February 15, 2012, respectively."

Adachi says Japan has high expectations in terms of generating positive publicity and meeting up with major tour operators and travel agents at SATTE 2012. “The Indian outbound travel market is rapidly expanding, and Japan only
has a small percentage currently visiting the country, but we are quite sure that SATTE 2012 will help us to increase our market share from India this year and in the future. In 2010, Japan received approximately 70,000 visitors from India - of which 65 percent were traveling on business. In 2012, we are targeting approximately 100,000 visitors from India.


This is the first time the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) will be participating at SATTE. The MGTO will use SATTE 2012 to showcase all new developments, new properties, and attractions that are under development in Macau. It also looks forward to meeting quality buyers from all over India, especially from smaller towns and cities.

João Manuel Costa Antunes, Director, MGTO, said: “We feel that India is one of the fastest-growing markets with a booming economy. We realize its importance and welcome Indians by providing them seamless travel and value for

The delegation will be led by the India representative office who will use the platform to promote the new brand and slogan, “Touching Movements, Experience Macau.” MGTO will also highlight the UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Historic Centre of Macau - which integrates the A-Ma Temple, Mandarin's House, Dom Pedro V Theatre, Guia Fortress, and the Ruins of St. Paul's among others.

“The travel trade from Macau will be at SATTE 2012 to interact with their Indian counterparts to clear doubts, if any, and to update the local agents of the new developments in Macau. The purpose of this visit is to strengthen the ties between Indian and Macau travel trade fraternity," added Antunes.


Developing Coastal Destination of Cambodia - Sihanoukville

News this week that two domestic airlines plan to offer flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville town was positive for the Kingdom’s tourism industry, though Cambodia’s coast is still far from being a top destination.

Cambodia Angkor Air and Tonle Sap Airlines have said they will begin trafficking passengers between the two destinations by the end of the year, with the former saying delays into 2012 are possible.
Regardless, the launch of these new routes begged a question.

As tourists to Siem Reap most often enter Cambodia from Thailand, why would these visitors choose Sihanoukville over any of that country’s world-class beaches and resorts?

Sure, the coasts of Sihanoukville this year were accepted into the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.

The view is far less flattering, however, when one considers what lies onshore.

The area is still very much undeveloped and lacking in many of the typical amenities found at most beach destinations.

In fact, media reports yesterday said cruise ship arrivals to Sihanoukville fell 31 percent year-on-year through June due in part to “a lack of attractions”.

That’s to say nothing of the raft of safety issues that still plague visitors Sihanoukville.

Compare that to Thailand’s Phuket Island, which boasts a more complete– and largely worry-free – tourist experience.

Sihanoukville for the foreseeable future seems destined to be a backpacker destination, and not one for tourists looking for a more comfortable stay at the beach.

Cost-conscious backpackers aren’t going to generate the revenues Cambodia is hoping for.

Even so, there are some who will defend Sihanoukville.

Mohan Gunti, advisor to the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents and a member of the government’s tourism working group, said the area offers something Thailand’s more developed resorts cannot.

“They are still virgin, unspoiled and unpolluted beaches,” he said of Sihanoukville’s coastline.

“So you can see the beauty and nature at their pristine stage.”

He claimed specific groups of tourists, such as those backpackers, sought out the privacy and quiet found along Cambodia’s coast.

Mohan Gunti also pointed to what he claimed was the natural landscape the Kingdom offers visitors if they travel inland from the shore.

Admittedly, Cambodia’s beach tourism industry is in a development stage, he said.

That is evident from any number of large tourism investment projects under construction in Koh Kong, Kep, Kampot and Sihanoukville, he added.

“In a couple of years, these beaches will be 100 percent ready to meet the needs of the beach tourists.”

Indeed, Sihanoukville’s 62-hectare Pearl City Asia development, when completed in 2014, will boast over a thousand residences, a shopping mall, a school and a hospital.

The US$600 million site is expected to be finished in 2014. Therefore, a part of fuelling Sihanoukville’s growth is offering these flights from Siem Reap, Mohan Gunti said, as “access always brings the people”.

Once these pieces are put into place, “it’s only a matter of time” before the area reaches its full potential, he said.

While that is true, one wonders how much time may be involved considering Sihanoukville’s still early stage of development.

And given that, one also wonders how long it will be until these newly announced flights are profitable for the carriers offering them
source: phnom penh post

ASEAN Countries agree to ease Visa Regulations

The 15th ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2012 in Manado, North Sulawesi, produced 7 core agreements to support the implementation of the “ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan” (ATSP) 2011-2015.

First, member countries agreed on furthering the integration of ASEAN tourism; second, increase connectivity between ASEAN nations; third, increase human resource capacities for tourism; fourth, ensure the quality of tourism services; fifth, create ASEAN tourism marketing strategies; sixth, develop ASEAN tourism products; and seventh, cooperate with ASEAN partner countries on tourism marketing and development.

Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, chair of the ASEAN Ministers Meeting, stated that the tourism ministers of ASEAN countries acknowledged that there have been significant improvements in the implementation of ATSP in all tourism taskforces

Minister Mari Pangestu added that developments were made in communications and transportation that facilitated tourists to travel, one of these components is the ASEAN Open Sky policy, which will endorse international airlines to open routes that connected to ASEAN. She also stated that efforts are conducted to resolve the visa and entry  procedures so that the “free movements” among ASEAN peoples can be achieved. As for non-ASEAN visitors, the “ASEAN common visa” will be resolved in the near future to create an “ASEAN Schengen.”

On the subject of improvements in tourism services and human resources in ASEAN, she added that agreement has been reached on several standards of services ranging from human resources, facilities, and also accommodation  standardization for eco-hotel, home-stay, and spa. For the security system, there will be a “security guideline” for tourism.

Other agreements achieved in the marketing strategy is the launch of the branding: "ASEAN, Southeast Asia: Feel the Warmth." Minister Mari Pangestu stated that there will be regular data and information analyses concerning ASEAN tourism marketing strategies.

ASEAN tourism product enrichment will also be conducted as one of the strategies to attract foreign tourists to come to the region. Four main ASEAN products to be developed are: cruising and river-based tourism, nature-based tourism, culture and heritage tourism, and community-based tourism. Minister Pangestu looked forward to the creation of thematic packages, for example a Sail ASEAN, that takes the route of Malaka-Karimata-South China Sea-Gulf of Thailand. ASEAN cruising should grow like in the Caribbean, which covers 27 countries.

Meanwhile, officially opening ATF 2012 on January 12, Vice President Boediono warned of the impact that the growing economic crisis in Europe will have on tourism.

“The crisis has hit European countries and the United States of America and caused the number of unemployment in those countries to increase,” said Vice President Boediono. Considering that Europe and the USA contributed highly to the ASEAN tourism industries, this condition will undeniably have impact. “The fact is that Europe is the largest market for the region, and at the moment, Europe is seemingly in trouble,” said the Vice President.

Vice President Boediono sees that the continuously-growing economies of Asia and other growing economies can be an option as an alternative market source besides the European markets which are projected to decrease due to the crisis. He pointed out an example stating that 43 percent of foreign tourists in ASEAN countries are from within the ASEAN countries itself, while 2/3 of the total came from the region of ASEAN plus China, Korea, Japan, India, and New Zealand.

“With a strong growth of the economy that has boosted a burgeoning ASEAN middle class, the Asia markets should be a new focus for the tourism industry,” said Vice President Boediono.

In this context, the ASEAN tourism ministers also held a joint tourism meeting with representatives from Japan, China, South Korea, and India to strengthen tourism between these Asian countries.

Source: antaranews

Tourism Past the Temples

Cambodia's tourism Kingdom of Wonder may be limited to the ancient temples of Siem Reap if some trends in economic development continue unabated.

Its tourism sector boasts Sihanoukville’s beaches, Koh Kong’s eco-tourism and French colonial architecture in Phnom Penh, among other sites.

Read more:

TRAVEX B2B Sessions at ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012 Manado enjoys full house

This week, Manado, capital of North Sulawesi, will become a hive of activity, as the international tourism Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) component of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012 gets under way.

This most important B2B event has a total of 1,400 registered TRAVEX delegates from across the ASEAN region and the world congregating at the Golden Kawanua Exhibition Hall. ASEAN sellers form 920 of these delegates, with 390 international buyers from 51 countries and 103 media representatives from 36 countries completing the delegates list.

While official TRAVEX days are from January 13-15, 2012, preparations and preliminary activities have been ongoing since Monday, January 10.

The Pre-TRAVEX networking activities kicked off on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, with the first of the full-day complimentary pre-show city tours around Manado, organized by the host committee, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia. These tours give TRAVEX delegates the opportunity to experience the destination
through its architecture, culture, and famous sights, ably brought to life by local guides. The city tours continue today, Thursday, January 12, 2012, followed by other agenda items, including the ATF Friendly Golf Game and ATF 2012 Opening Ceremony and ASEANTA Award Presentation in the evening. In addition to the networking activities, there will also be the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Press Conference and the Signing of an MOU on ASEAN-India Tourism Cooperation scheduled to be held at Novotel Manado Convention Centre.

These pre-show city tours and post-show tours to destinations within the country are excellent platforms for Indonesia, as the host country, to showcase up-and-coming destinations to the industry, allowing them to experience the full scale of its tourism infrastructure, hospitality, and other tourist highlights.

Besides being famous for its stunning dives at Bunaken, Manado offers trekking through rainforests to meet the tiny tarsiers at the Tangkoko-Batuangus reserve, magnificent mountains capes, and yummy culinary presentations.

Highlights during TRAVEX business days include: on-site business appointment scheduling sessions between sellers and buyers, exhibition and TRAVEX appointment sessions, media briefings by all ten ASEAN NTOs, and the ASEAN Tourism
Conference on “ASEAN Goes Green” featuring industry leaders. There will also be 6 other hosted luncheons, dinners, and late-night functions brought by sponsors such as the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, the
Philippine’s Department of Tourism, Chonburi Provincial Administrative Organization, the Tourism Authority of Thailand: Pattaya Office, Sutanraja Hotel Convention & Recreation, Malaysia Tourism, and the Cultural Office of Manado City Government.

During the stellar opening ceremony, delegates can look forward to an extravaganza of cultural performances, mouthwatering cuisine, and Manado hospitality. “Indonesia has much to offer through its culture, music, dance, and costumes. Arts like puppetry and mask dances are some of the unique ways that Indonesia tells its stories. We are thrilled to be giving ATF delegates a glimpse into this beautiful country,” said Ms. Anastasia Chris Miastuti, Deputy Director International of Promotion for ASEAN – Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Indonesia.

Meanwhile, ASEAN as a single destination with its branding “Southeast Asia - Feel the Warmth" introduced for the first time at ATF Manado.

“Today, the branding is officially used for the first time,” said Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, Chair of this year’s ATF, on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Preparations towards ASEAN as a single destination are showing significant development, added Minister Pangestu. One of the matters that still needs attention and prompt solution is the Free Visa policy among ASEAN nations, which still left confirmations pending from Indonesia, Cambodia,
and Myanmar.

The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote all countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as one tourist destination. ATF TRAVEX is the longest-running annual ASEAN leisure travel
trade event, showcasing the largest contingent of ASEAN sellers. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 ASEAN member nations: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar,
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

For more information and program updates on ATF 2012, visit . For the agenda and
outcome of sessions in the full ASEAN governments meetings at ATF 2012, please click:

World Ecotourism Conference 2011 scheduled to be at Cambodia

Under the theme" Charting the future of Ecotourism in Asia" the Ministry of Tourism in Cambodia - in collaboration with UNWTO and DiscoveryMice (Malaysia) - has just announced the venue and dates of the 3rd World Ecotourism Conference to be scheduled in Sihanoukville, Cambodia on October 3-5, 2011.

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With demand softening from Europe, ASEAN lures at Asia

The 15th meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers launched the ATF 2012 in Manado on January 12. This gave an opportunity for all the present ministers to express their satisfaction on further growth in total foreign arrivals. According to preliminary figures, foreign travelers to ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) posted a healthy 7.4 percent growth, more than the world’s average. This translated into some 79 million foreign travelers to Southeast Asia in 2011.

The optimistic mood shown by ministers and heads of NTOs was, however, slightly damped by bleak economic perspectives from some of ASEAN's traditional markets such as the USA and particularly Europe. “European travelers are still important to us as they can represent up to 25 percent of all arrivals. We will then continue our marketing efforts to promote our countries, but it will be challenging. Impulsions to growth are unlikely to come from this part of the world,” acknowledged Mari Elka Pangestu, the newly-appointed Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (previously Ministry of Culture and Tourism) and also chairwoman for the ongoing ASEAN Travel Forum. While expecting the demand to soften from Europe, ASEAN countries put their sight on the Asian continent. “Let’s remember that 43 percent of all foreign arrivals are Intra-ASEAN,” reminded Indonesia Vice President Prof. Dr. Boediono during the opening ceremony.

To Mari Elka Pangestu, intra-ASEAN travels will continue to grow as all the countries are enhancing connectivity within the region. Ministries welcomed the entry into force of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalization of Passenger Air Services (MAFLPAS). The agreement gives to any airlines of a Member State total freedom in traffic rights for routes between two ASEAN points. Total visa exemption for all ASEAN members is almost a reality except for a few exceptions such as Myanmar. However, Myanmar’s new path to democracy will certainly bring a sort of normality with other ASEAN countries.

ASEAN Ministers continue to pin their hope into the region’s two economic giants, China and India. Indonesia Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu, the signature of an open-sky agreement with China paves the way to the conclusion of a similar agreement with India, currently under negotiation. ASEAN recently established the ASEAN-China Center in Beijing to promote its member countries, as well as an ASEAN Promotional Chapter in Mumbai. Both will play an important part to further grow arrivals from both countries.

Philippines Eyes 6.3 Million Tourists by 2016

Philippines' Department of Tourism is gearing up to increase the number of tourists who will sample the Philippines’ “undiscovered treasures and hidden gems” to 6.5 million international arrivals, and over 32 million domestic travelers by 2016.

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ASEAMN TOURISM FORUM 2012 (ATF) in Manado kicks off

It is Asia’s first big show of the year. With ASEAN Travel Forum and TRAVEX starting officially from tomorrow – meeting with ministers and heads of NTOs have already begun over the weekend, as Indonesia plays host to Southeast Asia's largest travel show.

Over 1,600 delegates are due to meet in Manado until January 15 at the Grand Kawanua Convention Centre in Manado City Centre. The show will have 450 exhibition booths representing some 300 companies. ATF organizers expect over 400 trade buyers from all across the world, as well as 100 international and local media.

The show is not only the right place to learn all about Southeast Asia’s latest trends. This is also an opportunity for the host country to highlight the strength of a destination. Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy – the new name for the previous Ministry of Culture and Tourism - hopes then to further boost Indonesia’s appeal to tourists. Last year, first estimates indicate that Indonesia continued to attract more travelers to its shores. Growth was close to 10 percent with 7.6 million foreign arrivals compared to seven million a year earlier. According to Deputy Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Sapta Nirwandar, Indonesia should welcome slightly over 8 million foreign travelers in 2012, up by 6.5 percent. Total revenues should have reached US$8.4 billion, up from US$7.6 billion in 2010.

Manado and the province of North Sulawesi expects also to take profit from hosting ATF. According to North Sulawesi
Governor Sinyo H. Sarundajang to the Jakarta Post, the province expects to welcome 100,000 foreign travelers by the end of the year, compared to 40,000 last year. However, a major problem for the province is still the lack of international connections to easily reach the province. Asked a year ago about the difficulty of accessing Manado directly from the rest of Southeast Asia, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industry replied by expressing its confidence that the problem could be easily solved. Manado is today only linked to Singapore by up to 5 weekly flights. All connecting passengers must generally go through Jakarta, meaning long transit times. More than ever, the issue must urgently be solved if Manado and North Sulawesi want to be firmly anchored among ASEAN top marine tourism destinations.

India's Foreign Tourist Arrivals Up 24 Percent

INDIA - Reclaiming its position as a favoured Asian destination, India posted a 24% increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 as compared to 2009. The number of foreign tourist visits during 2010 was 17.9 million compared to 14.4 million in the previous year, registering a growth of 24.2%.

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Pre-TRAVEX registration statistics reveal robust ATF 2012 event

The newly-constructed Golden Kawanua Exhibition Hall, the venue for ATF 2012 TRAVEX, is geared up to welcome over 1,400 TRAVEX delegates to Manado next week.

Pre-TRAVEX registration statistics indicate that close to 1,000 exhibitors, 390 buyers, and more than 100 media delegates will fill the exhibition venue during the event. Representing quality travel trade and tourism organizations from across the world, these delegates will avail of business, learning, and networking opportunities over the three action-packed days of ATF TRAVEX from January 13-15.

The exhibitor delegation will feature some 438 booths represented by 390 companies and properties across the 10 ASEAN countries. Host country Indonesia, along with Thailand, form the two largest national contingents with 112 and 92 exhibition booths, respectively. Corporate exhibitors are also participating in a big way with some 65 exhibition booths.

Destination ASEAN’s growing reach and popularity is evidenced by buyer participation from 4 new countries this year: Bulgaria, Egypt, Kuwait, and New Zealand. Asia-Pacific strongly displays its purchasing power, with 48 percent of buyers hailing from the region. This is followed by 37.6 percent of the buyers representing Europe.

The event continues to draw the attention of international media as well. This year, media from 36 countries across the globe including first-time participants Bahrain and Indonesia, will cover ATF 2012, thus strengthening the event’s  reputation as the best platform for ASEAN exhibitors to showcase their products and services.

The learning component of the event, ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC), continues to stay relevant to the industry with this year’s theme, “ASEAN Goes Green.” To be held on January 13 from 0900 to 1200 hours, the conference will feature respected speakers from the industry. They are:

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Taleb D. Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO

- Dr. Andy Nazarechuk, President of Asia-Pacific CHRIE
- Mr. Martin Craigs, CEO of PATA
- Mr. Tatsuro Nakamura, Senior Executive Director of the Board of JATA
- Mr. Jim Boyles, GM of Melia, Bali

The speakers will share the latest information and insights on the region’s constant efforts towards sustainable and eco-conscious tourism.

All ATF TRAVEX delegates can also look forward to a comprehensive array of networking and leisure activities, beginning with the complimentary city tours and friendly golf game on January 12 before official TRAVEX days begin. Hosted  lunches, dinners, and late night events will commence from January 12 onwards.

For more information and program updates on ATF 2012, visit

Cambodia Joins World's Most Beautiful Bay Club

Cambodia witnessed a double-digit jump in arrivals during the first five months of the year over the same period in 2010, while its 440-kilometer Coast between Koh Kong through Sihanoukville and Kampot to Kep recently received recognition as a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club.

A pristine stretch of beach along Cambodia’s 440-km coastline Cambodia is counting on the designation and rising visitor numbers to increase investment in its beachfront.

Cambodian Minister of Tourism, Dr. Thong Khon said, Cambodia is firmly confident that being a member of the club will allow Cambodia coastal area to continue leading to international scene, especially contribute to sustainable and responsible development in the coastal area which will become the second attractive tourist destination following Angkor Wat—the first major cultural and historical tourist destination of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

"With the club's recognition, we have optimism that our clean and well-preserved beaches will attract more foreign tourists, "he said, adding" it will also be an impetus to encourage more investors to the areas."

According to the club's criteria, to be listed as the world's most beautiful bay, a bay must be under protection project with a wildlife and flora area. Also, it must be recognized by both local and regional level, and it must possess at least two features recognized by UNESCO in the cultural or natural assets categories.

The club was established in March 1997, in Berlin, Germany. Including Cambodia, it has 27 countries as member with 33 bays to be recognized as the most beautiful bays in the world, said the minister.

Dr. Thong Khon, emphasized the importance of shared responsibility and collective action that comes with development opportunities in Cambodia's coastal areas. He pointed out the contribution of coastal and marine resources to the thriving tourism sector and stressed the country's commitment to protecting its natural resources as one of its priority poles of socioeconomic, trade and tourism development. In addition, he also reiterated the importance of an integrated approach and coherent management to address the complex and cross-sectoral nature of coastal resource management.

Cambodia's membership came as a result of the application made by the Province of Preah Sihanouk Province during its Sixth Congress in Halong Bay in May 2010. Subsequent evaluation on sustainable management practices and economic potentials in the province was made in a year's time in several meetings held in Sihanukville. The Ministry of Tourism then extended the application to cover the entire coastline and cover other provinces to encourage effective coastal management to other provinces, hence the coverage of Cambodian Bay which spans 440 kilometers across the coastal provinces of Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk.

To promote protection of its resources, generate stakeholder support and showcase the unique cultural and environmental heritage, Preah Sihanouk province will host the country's First Sea Festival in December 2011. The event is hoped to mobilize support for the protection of Cambodia's coastal and marine resources.

The province and the Ministry of Tourism hosted a program on July 8, 2011 at the Independence Beach to celebrate its membership to the club.

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said, I am extremely happy to witness the achievement of Listing of Cambodia’s Bay as a Member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club. Through this, we can see better that Cambodia is located in a vintage position in gaining the advantage from being a member of the club of the most beautiful bays in the world. The listing will indeed play a key role in accelerating investments and more efficient development of the private sector, and boosting the competitiveness of the national tourism sector.

Truly, becoming a member of this world-class club is a new historic event which will bring about a great opportunity for accelerated development of the Cambodia’s bays and coastal area so that it will live up to its nickname as the dragon head area of Cambodia. This membership is fully in accordance with the willingness of Cambodian people and a prerequisite for ensuring the effective and efficient use of potential resources in a sustainable manner to underpin the economic growth and poverty reduction through the promotion of tourism sector, which can also trigger the growth in areas such as hotel, restaurant, transportation and other services.

Becoming a member of this club is a new turning point for Cambodia’s bay in terms of socio-economy, tourism, urbanization and environment, which are determining factors for international recognition of the entire 440-Km sea coast covering four provinces of Cambodia, namely Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot and Kep provinces which is collective called “Cambodia’s Sea Coast”. This has made Cambodia’s coastal area the 2nd economic pole in attracting investments for promoting national economic growth after the Phnom Penh, and also the main destination of natural tourism destination after the cultural and historical heritage areas of Siem Reap-Angkor and Phnom Penh. Indeed, Preah Sihanouk province has become the core of Cambodia’s coastal area, an international gateway, an industry centre, and particularly an international level tourism resort that exists in harmony with the our living environment and with great potential of natural resources, physical infrastructure such as international airport and seaport, telecommunication network and many other connecting economic infrastructure. Moreover, Koh Kong province is an international level eco-tourism destination and an industry centre linking with the ASEAN due to its high potential of geo-location, sea resources, mangroves and forests with the connection to the great ecological axis of the world that is Phnom Krovanh’s tropical forest which is rich in rare animals and the last one in Asia, and at present the area is listed as one of the 10 most famous eco-tourism sites in the world. Moreover, Kampot province is an agricultural and processing centre with advanced technology, a national and international trade and economic centre, and a destination for cultural, historical and natural tourism with wonderful geo-location, sea resources, Bok Kor resort, agricultural land and special features of agricultural crops such as durian, pepper, salt and sea catch. Besides, Kep province is a centre of long-haul tourist destination for those who love pure nature. All these essential features have allowed the four provinces be integrated into a coastal area of Cambodia with coastal axis connecting Koh Kong - Preah Sihanouk - Kampot - Kep provinces, linked with ASEAN highway no. 123 and linked with Phnom Penh through Phnom Penh – Preah Sihanouk axis to connect with the ASEAN highway No. 11.

In addition, we also have observed rapid progresses in the area of urbanization and construction such as hotel, guesthouse, restaurant, entertainment centre, and resorts etc., that have contributed to the promotion of the livelihood of people living along the coast, and have supported the expansion of other sectors as well. In general, all these private investments have quickly expanded in all these coastal area provinces including 117 approved investment projects equivalent to USD 10,701 million, which is 41.6% of total investment projects approved in the country.

Samdech Hun Sen has also appreciated those companies investing in the tourism sector in coastal areas such as Koh Pos investment company, Thai Bun Rung company, Emari Ozonan Marine company, Koh Dek Kol and Koh Song Sa company, Ta Tai ecology investment company … an so on for having invested and complied with the environmental standard, showing that private sector has become the “True Engine of Economic Growth”, and has actively contributed to the development of the entire national socio-economy.

Cambodia’s coastal area is welcoming the growth of national and international tourist arrivals. Indeed, in the first five months of 2011, Cambodia’s coastal areas saw an expansion of 7.5% growth with the arrivals of international tourists about 90,000, and domestic tourists of about 860,000. In 2011, the figure of tourists is expected to grow by 8.5% with the arrivals of international tourists about 180,000. In this regard, we are optimistic that tourists visiting coastal area will grow even stronger when there are connecting domestic and international flights as the aviation sector plays a pivotal role in the development of tourism sector, and when there are connecting railway to Preah Sihanouk province; and later on when the attractive Bok Kor resort, an important magnet linking to Vietnamese delta region and south-eastern part of Thailand, is open for operation.

Samdech also quoted, “We firmly hope that Cambodia will achieve more progress from the vast potential of its resources including natural, cultural and historical resources as such. However, we must not ignore other pre-requisite factors that ensure all these progresses such as assurances of long-lasting peace, political stability, security, safety and social order to achieve sustainable development in the long run. At the same time, we necessarily need to increase the efforts in the protection and conservation of natural resources, cultural and historical heritages as well as to increase the dissemination with effectiveness and greater coverage, living up to our name as Cambodia- Kingdom of Wonder and the Cambodia’s sea coast as Star in the Southwest”.

Taking this opportunity, Samdech Hun sen Said, “I strongly believe that a full membership of the Cambodia’s coast in the most beautiful bays in the world club is another great achievement for Cambodia. The accession will provide great benefit in mutually exchanging good experience in the coastal area development and conservation on urban planning, environment, economy, sociality, and tourism as well as sharing research results and technological studies relating to sustainable development, the promotion of tourism adverting of Cambodia coastal area and contribution to strengthen strategy of tourism destination diversification apart from the cultural and historical Angkor to visit the coastal area, especially to contribute to enhance the prestige of Cambodia coast in the international arena. In this regard, Cambodia will be capable to accelerate economic growth and improve the living standard of Cambodian people and it can fully play equal role in the region and the globe”.

Tourism industry is one of the main four pillars supporting Cambodian economy. In 2010, the sector received 2.5 million foreign tourists generating the total revenue of 1.75 billion U.S. dollars.

Manado ready to host ASEAN Tourism Forum - ATF 2012

The city of Manado, capital of the province of North Sulawesi - famous for its friendly people, fantastic diving, and wonderful food - is set to welcome the hundreds of government and private sector delegates and participants to the ASEAN Tourism Forum – ATF 2012.

To be held at the Golden Kawanua Convention Center from January 10-15, 2012, ATF is the first in the series of annual events in the global tourism industry agenda.

ATF brings together tourism ministers from all 11 ASEAN countries and senior government officials, and has an important adjunct to the annual ASEAN Travex - the B2B forum bringing global tourism business to the entire ASEAN region.

Carrying the theme, ASEAN Tourism for Global Community of Nations, the opening ceremony will take place on Thursday, January 12, 2012, at the Novotel Manado Convention Center, to be officiated by Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Dr. Mari Elka Pangestu.

Days earlier, ASEAN senior officials will have convened their meetings, and on January 10, a special dialogue meeting of all ASEAN NTOs (National Tourism Organizations) will be held with representatives from China, Japan, Korea, India, and Russia.

ASEAN ministers are scheduled to meet on 11January 11 and 12, while the ASEAN Tourism Conference will be on Friday, January 13.

The TRAVEX itself takes place at the Golden Kawanua Convention Center, occupying 7,000 square meters of exhibition space, to accommodate the 450 seller booths. Organizers tell us that almost all booths are taken up.

To date, TTG informs that that there are already 970 registered buyers, 400 of whom are hosted, while other buyers come on their own account.

Booth set-up and registration starts from January 11, while actual business meetings will start from January 13.

In 2009, all ASEAN countries together registered total tourist arrivals of 65.68 million tourists, of whom 31.69 million came from within the ASEAN region itself and 33.98 million from outside the ASEAN region.

In the first 7 months of 2011, arrivals grew significantly, totaling 73.67 million total tourist arrivals to ASEAN, comprising 34.8 million tourists from the ASEAN countries themselves, and 38.8 million international tourists from outside the Southeast Asian region.

The Golden Kawanua Convention Center has comprehensive facilities including hotel and restaurants, located only some 15 minutes from the airport.

Internationally, Manado is served by SilkAir from Singapore, while many domestic flights serve Manado by Garuda Indonesia, Batavia Air, Lion Air, and many more, from Jakarta, Bali, and Makassar.

For detailed information, please go to:

Siem Reap, Cambodia – One of the World’s Best Cities

For the first time, Siem Reap was singled out as “one of the world’s best cities” in the latest annual reader survey published by renowned US Travel Magazine Travel + Leisure. Citing the city’s evolution from “a cluster of riverfront villages in northwestern Cambodia into a full-fledged destination,” the magazine praised Siem Reap for its magnificent temple sites and myriad recreational and cultural attractions.

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Cambodia amongst countries to receive UN tourism support

The UNWTO has joined with eight of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) to assess their tourism development needs. The UN Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD), held in Switzerland, joined with tourism, finance and trade ministries from Benin, Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Lesotho, Maldives, Sao Tome and Principe and Uganda, to learn how to better work together to maximise the countries’ tourism potential and identify funding sources.

“Tourism is one of the few economic sectors through which LDCs have managed to increase their participation in the global economy,” said Márcio Favilla, executive director at UNWTO. “The multiplier effect of tourism is also particularly effective in the LDCs, where tourism expenditure generates additional flows of revenue and consumption for other branches of the economy such as agriculture, local fisheries, handicrafts and the furniture and construction industries”.

International tourist arrivals in the world’s 48 LDCs grew from six million in 2000 to more than 17 million in 2010, while international tourism receipts climbed from £1.8 billion to in excess of £6.25 billion.

The UN workshop allowed the countries to learn more about how to develop their tourism strategies and action plans, as well as leveraging human and financial resources.

It is now expected that the LDCs will be able to prepare project proposals by the end of 2011, for approval and endorsement by mid-2012

Cambodia's Exotic Coastal Destination

Sihanouk Ville BeachThe Coconut Tree is reminiscent of the beauty of Cambodia’s coastline including Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep, and Koh Kong, the perfect places for relaxing getaway.

A beach vacation in Cambodia is just about the last thing you think of when the word Cambodia is mentioned. Your mind immediately goes to the magnificent Angkor Wat or the palaces and war memorials of Phnom Penh.

Unbeknown to many on the south Coast of Cambodia are some great beaches, some as yet undeveloped beach resorts and some great hotel accommodations. The beach resorts of Cambodia really must be part of any holiday in Cambodia.

Making a start in Sihanoukville where you will find an empty white sand beach, a clear blue sky and a blue-turquoise shimmering ocean. Cambodia once war torn is now at peace, and tourism is now a large part of the economy, but when the name Cambodia is mentioned, most people think of temples, and Angkor. At last the government in Cambodia has begun to see the huge sense in diversifying their tourism to include some wonderfully still unspoilt beaches.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s premier beach town, sporting miles of white sandy beaches, uninhabited islands and warm clear tropical waters. Originally founded as a port town half a century ago, but these days it’s very much a beach town and tourist destination. The main town area sits on a beach lined peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Thailand. The pace of life in this provincial town is very relaxed and unhurried.

Sihanoukville is a place to unwind by the beach, enjoy the fresh seafood, take an island excursion or experience a scuba trip.

The beach town of Sihanoukville has views to offshore islands and is surrounded on 3 sides by the Bay of Thailand, whose waters lap soft white sand. The town itself is undergoing change, just in which direction it has yet to be seen, however for now it remains the closest thing Cambodia has to a resort, and with much to see in the region is well worth a look

Building at Sihanoukville commenced in the 1950’s when the then king, Sihanouk, oversaw the construction of a deep-water port. A few hotels followed but in reality Kep along the coast to the east was the main draw beach-wise. In the mid-1970’s the overthrow of the government say a name change to Kampong Som, then later, back to Sihoukville; both names remain in use today.

Now the Beach resort of Sihanoukville is fast becoming a holiday destination in its own right, with lots of islands and parks and things to do from hiking and exploring, scuba diving & snorkeling and boat rides, water falls, jungle treks and chilling in a hammock in a quiet beach park reading a good book. Culturally there are the markets, the local wats and the schools, where many come to donate time and money towards educating the kids.

Logistically everything that you will need is here including reliable electricity, internet, and western restaurants as well as a lot of Asian European specialty foods prepared with the western travelers tastes in mind including Khmer seafood, Thai, Vietnamese, French, Italian, German, Russian, Indian, and more coming soon.

The premier beach resort is at Sihanoukville, and there are a number of high quality hotels and guesthouses with more promised. If you want to take a beach vacation in Cambodia then it would be good to go before the developments disturb the peace and quiet. One of the top two hotels in Sihanoukville are the Sokha Beach Resort and Independence Hotel. With half a dozen white sand beaches in the vicinity you need not be a brain surgeon to see what is happening.

Take a diving trip to the island of Koh Tang, where the last battle of the Vietnam war was fought, and the water is so clear and teeming with fish, but be warned there are 61 coastal islands, and their development has begun.

Drive for a couple of hours along the coast and you will come to Kep, where the beach although not as good as at Sihanoukville the pace of life is just so slow and appealing. This is where the French built their villas when they were in power, and again development is taking place.

The best reason of all to consider a beach vacation in Cambodia is wonderful unspoilt beaches, improving international standard hotels, good food. Be warned the airport at Sihanoukville is already developed to accommodate jets and in future jumbos. Flights into Sihanoukville are very close to being a reality.

Regularly scheduled busses and taxis from Phnom Penh will get you to Sihanoukville in 4 hours on an excellent built road.

Last year Cambodia’s Beaches have been nominated for the most beautiful bays in the world, and hopefully Cambodia has a tremendous potential and every possibility to be the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.

As Cambodia moves forward towards the future, it is obvious to most that the future in Cambodia is tourism.

Smarter advertising can boost Cambodia’s tourism sector

Cambodia, with its unique mixture of culture and nature. Tourism has become one of the three most important contributors to the Kingdom’s economy according to Cheam Yeap, Chairman of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit of the National Assembly.The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with many other institutions, is working hard to maintain that situation.

High-quality advertising is the key to luring more foreign visitors to Cambodia, which is why the Ministry of Tourism is trying to boost advertising through mass media.

Statistics show the number of international tourists increased by 14 per cent in the first six months of this year. This is a  good omen for the nation’s economy.  Tat Visoth Mony, chief of the International Tourist Information Administrative Office’s marketing and promotions department, says the ministry’s focus on promotional campaigns has been highly successful.

“All our promotional material refers to Cambodia’s history and contains pictures of our heritage temples, our beaches, our lifestyle, our scenery, our culture and our resorts to attract tourists’ attention,” he says.

Every year, Cambodia spends around $2 million on advertising to attract tourists. But, because ofbudget constraints,  this advertising has not been 100 per cent effective.

“If we want to promote Cambodia properly, we have to spend a lot of  money,” Tat Visoth Mony says.

“We still lack the budget to run tourism campaigns effectively.”

The Cambodian government has adopted a seven-pronged strategy to increase the number of international tourists. It includes an advertising boost; easier entry to the Kingdom (with a free visa, if appropriate); reducing the cost of visiting; creation of new tourism products; lifting the quality of tourism products; encouraging local movement of tourists; and an emphasis on tourists’ security and safety.

Cheam Yeap says the government is paying a lot of attention to the tourism sector and is trying to paint the best possible picture of Cambodia.

“We tell visitors about our eco-tourism, our historic resorts and our cultural activities,” he says.

“The tourism sector is becoming better and better.”

Cheam Yeap adds that the government gives priority to international tourism companies that co-operate with Ministry of Tourism and to promoting the  tourism sector by producing handbooks and encouraging the development of human resources.

Cheam Yeap says the government closely monitors tourism statistics. If its approach is not effective, it will change its focus, he says.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, says Cambodia cannot earn much profit from the tourism sector while the government allows foreigners to control most of it.

He says Cambodia has to spend more on advertising and promotion of the tourism sector, and make it broader and more effective.

In addition, the government has to encourage Cambodian companies to invest more in the tourism sector, Yim Sovann says.

Kong Chandararoth, president of the Cambodian Institute of Economic Study and Development, says tourism advertising is becoming more and more sophisticated because overseas tourists want to see what they are paying for.

“Public-relations campaigns in other countries is also the best advertising strategy, because if we represent our tourism sector to them, we will get more tourists,” he says

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Actress Ly Nha Ky selected as Vietnam’s Tourism Ambassador .

 Vietnam Actress Ms. Ly Nha Ky has been selected by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as Vietnam’s Tourism Ambassador from September 2011 to September 2012.

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Barcelona 3-0 Sporting Gijon


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TOURISM ALLIANCE AWARDS is conceptualized to celebrate and recognize the brightest tourism stars in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.