ASEAN Conference takes aim at the future

About 120 tourism product buyers from markets including Canada, the U.S. and Europe were in attendance at the recent annual Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) in Vientiane, Laos this year, reports Press Today’s Beatrice Ang, who was on hand for the show.

This year’s edition was held at the International Trade Exhibition and Convention Center in Vientiane, from Jan 22 to 27. This is the largest tourism show in the Asean region, and it provided the opportunity for dialogue between the tourism ministers and tourist boards of the 10 countries that make up the Asean collective.

This was in addition to the trade show component, giving global buyers the chance to learn more about the region through one-on-one meetings.

However, there were only 250 suppliers in attendance with notable absences from Brunei and Singapore, which did not have country pavilions. This left some buyers a little bewildered about the apparent lack of a united showcase for the region.

Nonetheless, ATF offered a timely opportunity for buyers to network and get crucial updates on the many offerings in the region. The forum also featured 29 speakers sharing expert advice on ATF’s theme for this year, “Quality and Responsible Tourism — Sustaining Asean’s Future”.

According to Khom Douangchantha, director general of the Tourism Promotion Department of Laos’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, member countries appreciated the tourism activities and programs outlined in the Asean Tourism Strategic Plan for 2016-2025. This helped drive a significant growth in arrivals, especially during the post-Covid period, they reported. 

Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is an economic and political organization comprising 10 countries in Southeast Asia —  Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.



Asean tourism officials welcome delegates at the ATF opening ceremony.


ATF show hosts in ethnic Lao costumes.


Flags of the Asean nations.