What does the future hold for tourism in Thailand and Indochina? This region of the world, with its beautiful scenery, rich and diverse culture and gorgeous resorts, has the potential to be a very strong force in global tourism. From the bustling markets of Vietnam to the sun-soaked beaches of Thailand to the lush jungles of Laos and the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, this region has a lot of draws for tourists.
The acronym ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is an organisation of 10 countries in Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. The organisation aims to accelerate economic growth and social progress within these countries, creating a region of peace and stability.
Promoting Travel in the ASEAN Region
When it comes to promoting tourism in ASEAN, the countries will benefit in the future from promoting themselves as a single tourist destination. This is part of the future plan to encourage tourism and there is talk of allowing visitors to travel throughout the region on a single visa in the future. This would make travel to this region much easier for visitors, encouraging them to visit more often and explore more extensively.
Many of the countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, do well on their own attracting tourists. However, other regions would benefit from the collective branding as they are more “off the beaten track”. The easier it is to travel to all countries in the region, the more likely it is for tourists to visit these lesser known destinations.
Improving Law and Order
Western tourists are high-spending, but they are also risk averse and are not likely to travel to a region they see as unstable or unsafe. While events such as tsunamis cannot be predicted, it is important for the ASEAN region to strengthen defence mechanisms, recovery efforts and regulation – especially against shady businesses such as human trafficking and drugs.
Investing in Infrastructure
Another focus of development in ASEAN is infrastructure. Countries such as Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines are less developed when it comes to infrastructure, which can have a negative effect on tourism. According to Goldman Sachs, the infrastructure needs of the region are at $550 billion by 2020. This could be a golden opportunity, as developing infrastructure could help to boost tourism by reducing travel times and cost for freight, power and communication.
Of course, ASEAN must also be cautious about over development. Part of the charm of this region is its simplicity and peacefulness, which could be disrupted if too many tourists arrive. It is important to make sure that development is sustainable and that it follows eco-friendly guidelines.
With the right development strategies, this beautiful tropical region can improve and grow – becoming an even more desirable destination for travellers from all over the world.
What are your thoughts on the future of tourism in the ASEAN region? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
photo credit: Global Goose