The theme for this year’s forum was “ASEAN Without Borders, Roadmap for Strategic Development of Ecotourism Clusters and Tourism Corridors”.

In his keynote address, Dr. Bosengkham Vongdara, Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Lao PDR, welcomed the delegates and stated that as the Chair of ASEAN 2016, the Lao PDR is determined to further the aspirations of the region under the theme “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community”.

The Forum
agreed that it was time for ASEAN members to cooperate closely in realizing the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025 the aim of which was that by 2025, ASEAN would become a quality tourism destination offering a unique and diverse ASEAN experience that was committed to responsible, sustainable and balanced tourism development, thus contributing significantly to the socio-economic well-being the people of the region.

The delegates acknowledged that ecotourism is a sustainable form of tourism that would enable the tourists to experience and understand the nature and rich biodiversity of the region, while at the same time generating socio-economic benefits for local communities living in harmony with nature especially in remote and rural areas within the ASEAN.

The Forum acknowledged the role of international tourism stakeholders in developing multinational tour itineraries, tour routes and special interest tour programs in the region. The Pakse Declaration called for an ASEAN coordinated roadmap to strategically identify, plan and develop an inter-connected network of ecotourism sites which linked to major overland and river passageways. These ecotourism clusters and tourism corridors would be developed to traverse all ASEAN nations, transcending borders and wildlife frontiers, facilitating tourists to travel deep into rural areas and nature reserves and to experience the essence of ASEAN’s ecotourism attractions. This visionary development would unlock economic opportunities along overland and river routes; a major socio-economic initiative to create employment and uplift communities, revitalize idle natural resources and transform impoverished rural areas.

The Pakse Declaration endorsed by the ASEAN tourism ministers will be tabled at the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane in September 2016.

 Source by: Oh! magazine

Photos by: Famous Lighting


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