ACD calls for united tourism revival

CHERNG TALAY: A three-day gathering of members of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Tourism Business Forum has concluded with a call for regional cooperation on reviving tourism and in dealing with future emergencies. Business executives and government officials from the 18-nation ACD met at the Laguna Beach Resort until Saturday and will meet again in Chiang Mai next month. Discussions centered on ways of ensuring the security and safety of tourists, assistance for small and medium-sized tourism enterprises and human resource development. Member and non-member countries were urged to be more cautious in issuing travel advisory alerts to prevent misconceptions over contagious diseases and terror threats. Ideas from the conference will flow on to Cabinet and other Governments and be noted by UN bodies and non-government organizations. The gathering urged governments to exchange information on terrorist activities, and to enhance community awareness of potential threats through “People Watch” initiatives. A study of existing best practices in crisis management in ACD countries was recommended. The theme of cooperation was also applied to tourism training courses and standards and participants sought ways to promote competitiveness among small to medium enterprises in the tourism industry. Suggestions covered marketing, technical assistance, access to credit and the need for reliable market research information. Common benchmarking and the promotion of an Asian brand by developing joint regional promotion strategies were just two of the many ideas. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The Ministry’s Director-General, Dr Sasithara Pichaichannarong, said one major talking point was improving the speed with which visitors could move through visa processing checkpoints, with the safety of tourists a paramount consideration. Thailand and India had already initiated talks on agreeing on common standards for workers in the tourism industry, she said. The next ACD meeting involving national leaders is to take place in Cambodia, at a date to be set.

Phuket News

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