The ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA) organized its annual Forum on 14 May 2015. The ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA) has been developed by various universities from the South-East Asia region with the aim to bridge the gap between Tourism academic institutions, tourism industry and to facilitate knowledge & skills transfer in the light of the ASEAN integration. The 2015 forum covered the following: - Expanding the role of ATRA - Tourism Research in South East Asia - ASEAN Community Integration and ATRA For that matter, ATRA invited experts from the ASEAN regions involved in Economics Research,Tourism administration and ASEAN regional Cooperation. Dr Ponciano Intal was the keynote speaker. It was timely to organize such a forum since Malaysia is chairing ASEAN for the year 2015 and recently held the ASEAN Head of States Summit in Langkawi.
More than 70 delegates attended the ATRA Forum 2015. Dr. Pradeep, President of ATRA mentioned “This year is important for the ASEAN region since the ASEAN Community will take place in December”. Dr. Ponciano Intal ERIA, in his keynote address highlighted Several issues pertaining to the ASEAN Economic Community, the ASEAN Socio-political Community and the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community.This aspect was emphasized during the panel discussion in which questions were raised on how ASEAN Economic Community is relevant to its 600 Million citizens.
Issues of mobility of workers but also of human trafficking were discussed with interest by the panelist in answering the audience questions. Ms. Christiana Tharsis commented that People of ASEAN in the future will be able to express their attachment to the region thanks to Tourism. Indeed people will be more aware of different cultures through travel and that will give them a feeling of belonging to ASEAN. Mr. Moktar Musa shared similar views after taking microeconomics approach, when he underlined : “Thinking as ONE ASEAN and as ASEAN Citizen”. This Forum has given high profile to the challenges and opportunities brought by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Commmunity (ASC) are becoming a reality by 31st December 2015. Tourism activities are expected to grow with more than 750 million tourists by 2018 in the region. That will create more employment, more investments and will provide numerous research needs in the field of tourism. ATRA will be able to accompany the trend and address the needs for the benefits of the ASEAN people. The ATRA Forum 2016 will evaluate this progress.