quinta-feira, março 16, 2017

ASEAN Tourism

The Association of Southeast Asian Nation or ASEAN was established by the founder countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on August 8, 1967. Later, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam have joined the regional association.

Tourism has experienced continuing growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress (UNWTO – United Nation World Tourism Organization). We can notice that most of the countries in the region are developing and emerging countries. The tourism has become a tool to generate income in those countries profiting from their tourism resources, both natural and cultural.
Besides the connecting border, they are related historically and culturally, which can turn tourism as main force for developing a cluster tourism destination in the region. The collaboration among the countries can strongly emphasis tourism promotion. The numbers of tourists also come with the demand of infrastructure and facilities, which the countries need to develop.
When the countries are recognized as tourism destinations, it comes with that, both, positive and negative impact for the countries.
The positive impacts of economical nature can be the main focus of them. The investment in the tourism industry would generate tax revenues, jobs, incomes and also external visibility. The investment in infrastructure influence both domestic and international investors to contribute for their investment. It is written in the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report that ASEAN is one of the world’s most tourism dependent regions, with travel and tourism contributing to 12.4% of total GDP, nearly 4% above most of the other world’s regions. This supports the association aim and purpose of accelerating the economic growth. The ASEAN countries that exploit the opportunities of low interest rates to foster necessary infrastructure and investment opportunities will be best to create quality jobs and tax revenues. This will contribute strongly to the wellbeing of their economies in the future.
In addition, the positive social impacts will improve the local people quality of life as well as increase of the community pride, and the regional identity can be reinforced. Accordingly with the motto of ASEAN: “One Vison, One identity, One Community”
In another hand, there are also negative impacts of both economic and social nature to the destination. In terms of economic ones, it will increase prices and cost of living. The difference of culture and attitudes between residents and visitors can also generate conflict and problems. For example, a car accident of Chinese tourists has driving car and motorbike to Chaingmai, Thailand, which caused traffic and danger for the tourists themselves and also annoyed the residents.
As most of place attractions in ASEAN rely on natural and cultural attributes, the visit of numerous tourists will cause environment impacts. That will put in danger the natural environment. The demand of tourist facilities and infrastructure will change the local people way of life as well as the cultural one. In the case of Pai, there is a rural village in Chaigmai, in which the distinctive attractions are the natural scenery and simple way of life. However, when many tourist came in, the resident sold their properties to the investors to build hotels and resorts. The pollution and crowded visitors are changing the uniqueness of this village.
The comparison of pros and contras of tourism can be biased by the economic benefit which some country will from, devaluating the negative impacts that were mentioned. That is a reason for the country to think about the sustainability of tourism in their country.
Accordingly with the annual ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2020, there is the need not only of developing and enhancing the tourism industry in the region but also of ensuring that this growth is grounded on responsible, sustainable, and inclusive bases.
Hence, ASEAN tourism development must focus on strategic plan to be innovative, well integrate and sustainable to ensure the stability the tourism and economic growth to community.

Itsra Watjananasoontorn


(Artigo de opinião produzido no âmbito da unidade curricular “Economia do Turismo”, de opção, lecionada a alunos de vários cursos de mestrado da EEG, a funcionar no 2º semestre do ano letivo 2016/2017)

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