‘Prioritise visa facilitation in ASEAN’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Minister of Industry and Primary Resources has called on ASEAN to prioritise visa facilitation in the region.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seria Setia Haji Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said visa facilitation would help drive more visitors to the region.
Speaking during the 17th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers held in Kuching, Sarawak, he said ensuring strong progress of the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan implementation, and initiating the development of a workable funding model, would ensure sustainable funding for future ASEAN tourism projects.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya further said the safety and security of tourists must not be compromised, and should always remain on top of the tourism agenda.
He added that national tourism organisations should continuously explore all possibilities towards enhancing each member state’s capabilities in ensuring the well-being of visitors.
The minister shared that the cruise tourism industry in Brunei experienced a 40 per cent increase, which was largely attributed to new cruise developments in the region.
In a press statement issued from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources yesterday, Southeast Asian ministers welcomed the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015.
The meeting, as well as the 13th meeting of ASEAN China, Japan and South Korea, was held in conjunction with the annual ASEAN Tourism Forum.
According to the press statement, 75 per cent of the strategic plan has been completed and the ministers have also agreed to revise some of the measures, to ensure its relevance to promote sustainable tourism in realising regional economic integration.
It was noted during the meeting that ASEAN remained an attractive destination for regional and international tourists. ASEAN received more than 90.2 million tourists in 2013, an increase of about 12 per cent, compared to 2012.
Another achievement brought up during the meeting was the establishment of the ASEAN Tourism Security and Safety Online Resource Centre, and the identification of standards certification processes, including the ASEAN Public Toilet Standard.
Meanwhile, YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya presented the ASEAN Green Hotel Award to Ulu Ulu National Park Resort in Temburong, an award initiated by ASEAN for hotels and resorts in recognition for their environmental, cultural and energy conservation efforts.
The minister also held a meeting with Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, the Malaysian Minister of Tourism and Culture.
During the meeting, YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya proposed for a Memorandum of Understanding between Brunei and Malaysia on tourism cooperation.
He also proposed for a formalised Joint Tourism Working Group between Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah, to discuss possible cooperation on areas of common interest.
The Brunei Times