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The 29th ASEAN Tourism Forum opens

The 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism Forum opened in Hanoi on Tuesday, with participants seeking solutions to boost tourism that was heavily hit by global economic downturn.


Tran Chien Thang, Vice Minister of Vietnamese Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry, said at the forum that global economic turmoil has reduced demand for traveling.


Thang called policy markers in ASEAN countries to map out favorable policies for tourism sectors to grow. He also suggested travel agencies to launch new products and services, like cruise tourism, to attract more customers.


Participants at the meeting discussed the establishment of ASEAN Tourism Investment Corridor, and plan to accredit regional selected hotels with the title of ASEAN Green Hotel.


With an aim to further lift the image of ASEAN tourism, participants agreed to carry out the ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement (ACE) project in coordination with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


Participants also agreed to strengthen regional cooperation to enhance competitiveness and deal with the challenges together.


ASEAN comprises ten countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.


The forum draws tourism ministers of ASEAN countries and representative of travel agencies, airlines and hotels from across the world.


(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2009)