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ERIA Joins the 25th ASEAN Tourism Ministers' Meeting

19 January 2022

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Preah Sihanouk, 19 January 2022: Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura, President of ERIA, virtually attended a hybrid 25th Meeting of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers (25th M-ATM) held on 19 January 2022 at Preah Sihanouk Province, Kingdom of Cambodia. HE Dr Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, of the Kingdom of Cambodia, chaired the meeting and led the consultation on Agenda Item 14: Consultations with International Organizations, Entities Associated with ASEAN and Other External Parties. In his opening statement, Dr Khon expressed appreciation to the various external partners in helping ASEAN facilitate the recovery of the tourism sector in the region.

In the meeting, Prof Nishimura updated the tourism ministers on the status of the two tourism studies that ERIA is currently undertaking for ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), namely the comprehensive assessment of MRA-TP and the development of a framework on sustainable tourism.  He highlighted the significance of the studies in facilitating tourism labour mobility under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the role of sustainable tourism in promoting recovery of the tourism sector.  In addition, Prof. Nishimura informed the ministers of the available knowledge support in ERIA, particularly the availability of the COVID-19 Research Fund to do studies on tourism recovery, and the various capacity-building activities that ERIA can undertake to enhance effective policymaking in the tourism sector.  He also highlighted the importance of these activities to further enhance collaboration between ERIA and ASEAN tourism sector.

During the open discussion, His Excellencies (HE) Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, ASEAN Secretary-General commended Prof Nishimura for ERIA’s support to ASEAN tourism cooperation, particularly the conduct of the two studies this year.  He acknowledged ERIA as a very important institution that ASEAN has created in the last ten years not only for tourism but also for other sectors involved in the implementation of the AEC Blueprint. The two tourism studies by ERIA are critical to understand the contribution of the tourism sector.  He also emphasized that good policymaking shall be based on evidence-based research in order to get the work done in a comprehensive manner. He underlined the importance of the MRA-TP study to the policymakers particularly in identifying key problems in labour mobility and job creation in the tourism sector. In this regard, HE Dato' Lim Jock Hoi suggested for ERIA to do the following:

  1. Support the implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Framework after COVID-19;
  2. Explore a study-on-study of tourism technology; and
  3. Leverage the MRA-TP comprehensive study by developing a monitoring mechanism on implementation, and a feasibility study to extend the MRA-TP project to ASEAN+3 in 2023.

Several Ministers of ASEAN Member States (AMS), such as HE Bernadette Romulo-Puyat from the Philippines, Ms N.W. Giri Adnyani from Indonesia, HE Pengiran Kasmirhan Pengiran Tahir from Brunei Darussalam, and HE U Htay Aung from Myanmar, also extended their appreciation and support of ERIA contributions in facilitating MRA-TP and Sustainable Tourism Framework studies. They are expecting good progress and results from the studies which will help ASEAN NTOs, and strengthen cooperation between AMS, more intensive actions, friendship, including exchange of people in 2022 and beyond. In addition, HE Pengiran Kasmiran Pengiran Tahir from Brunei Darussalam highlighted the importance of the studies as priority deliverables at the ASEAN Summit to facilitate the post-pandemic recovery, and recalled the support of ERIA at the ASEAN Summit last year, particularly in the area of agriculture.

In response to the recommendation and appreciation from the parties above, Professor Nishimura thanked all of them and affirmed ERIA’s support to ASEAN tourism cooperation.  In particular, he expressed support for the development of cooperation on the monitoring mechanism for the implementation and feasibility study of extending the MRA-TP to the ASEAN+3 in 2023, as part of the follow-up work of the study. On a sustainable tourism framework, ERIA also expressed support for the implementation of the framework through the development of a regional work plan on sustainable tourism in ASEAN. 

ERIA was honoured that the 25th M-ATM appreciated ERIA’s studies in MRA-TP and Sustainable Tourism Framework. The consultation meeting was also attended by representatives from ERIA, ASEAN-China Centre ASEAN-Japan Centre, ASEAN-Korea Centre, World Travel and Tourism Forum, US-ABC, ASEANTA, ATRA, UNWTO, and PATA.

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