Tourism is an essential sector in ASEAN which, if managed properly, can boost the economy, increase employment, and become a significant source of foreign exchange for the member countries. Increasing progress and prosperity have made tourism a staple part of lifestyle and moved millions of people to get to know nature and culture in other parts of the world. The movement of millions of people triggers interconnected economic chains of a service industry that contributes to the economy and improve wellbeing of many communities. According to UNWTO, the number of international tourists will reach 1.4 billion in 2020 and 1.8 billion in 2030.
Tourism in ASEAN faces two kinds of challenges. First is the intense competition among ASEAN member countries in creating tourism destinations that can attract tourists and investors within the increasingly rapid advancement in information and communication technology. Internally, tourism development in ASEAN is still experiencing obstacles, mainly related to development of the industry, infrastructure and accessibility, institutional strengthening, investment and development of tourism resources. Connectivity between ASEAN country members and the people is believed to be the key to promoting greater competitiveness, inclusivity and a sense of community. Connectivity, which consists of physical relations (for example, transportation and ICT), institutional (such as trade and services), and people-to-people ties (such as education, culture, and tourism), is fundamental in achieving the pillars of economic, political-security, and socio-cultural aspects of an integrated ASEAN Community.
This forum will provide a platform for knowledge sharing among academics, government officials, industry members and post-graduate students from the ASEAN region aims to discuss the role of tourism in enhancing connectivity between people to people, institutions to institutions (through the case of higher education institutions and non-governmental organizations), and nations to nations.