Thursday, January 22, 2015

Historic 34th ASEAN Tourism Forum kicks off in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

The 34th edition of ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) kicked off today at Myanmar International Convention Centre (MICC) 1 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar with the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs). Some 300 delegates including tourism ministers and NTO officials are flying in for the event which is being held in Myanmar for the first time. Over the next few days, some 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries will gather in Nay Pyi Taw for ATF 2015.

H.E. U Htay Aung, Union Minister of the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said, “We would like to extend a warm welcome to all ATF 2015 delegates, sellers, buyers, media and trade visitors to Myanmar. I hope the meetings, discussions and conversations we will have over the next few days will be fruitful, and that at the same time, you will have the opportunity to experience for yourself Myanmar’s rich culture and biodiversity, as well as our people’s charm and hospitality.”

From 22 to 26 January, the ASEAN tourism ministers and NTOs, together with their counterparts from countries such as China, India, Japan, Korea (Republic of Korea) and Russia will convene in a series of meetings to discuss issues concerning tourism in the region, as part of the official ATF 2015 programme.

Themed ‘ASEAN – Tourism Towards Peace, Prosperity and Partnership’, ATF 2015 will be officially opened on 26 January at an opening ceremony graced by H.E. U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO. At the opening ceremony, Myanmar will be formally presented the award for 'Best in Travel – AEC Country' 2014 by Lonely Planet Traveller. Also part of the programme are the presentation of the ASEANTA (ASEAN Tourism Association) Awards for Excellence and cultural performances.

From 26 to 29 January, key activities of the ATF 2015 Official Programme include:

  • ASEAN Tourism Ministers Press Conference (26 Jan)
  • ASEAN Tourism Conference (27 Jan)
  • Media briefings by each of the 10 ASEAN member countries’ NTO (27 to 29 Jan)
  • TRAVEX, the travel mart showcasing products and services by ASEAN sellers (28 and 29 Jan)
(For the latest complete programme, please refer to

ASEAN Tourism Conference

Themed ‘Tourism in the ASEAN Community 2015’, the half-day ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) on 27 January will feature a group of speakers from diverse backgrounds and expertise to discourse challenges and solutions for promoting tourism in the region. The panel discussion, moderated by Ms Carmen Roberts, a travel writer and television presenter with BBC, will cover a range of topics including Mutual Recognition Agreement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP), ASEAN Tourism Standards, ASEAN Open Skies Policy and Responsible Tourism Planning and Development in Myanmar.

Open to all participants of ATF 2015, ATC is an invaluable opportunity for tourism players to gain insights from industry experts and get the ‘Myanmar perspective’ from the country’s Union Minister of Ministry for Hotels and Tourism, U Htay Aung, and Chairman of Myanmar Tourism Federation, U Yan Win, who will deliver the keynote address and welcome speech respectively.

The detailed ATC programme and profiles of the speakers can be found on the event website at

Strong participation from local exhibitors and visitors

TRAVEX, the two-day travel exhibition component of ATF, has attracted strong participation, with host country Myanmar participating with its largest ever contingent. U Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, Chairman of Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM), said, “It is encouraging and heartening to see so many local companies participating given that this is the first time Myanmar is hosting ATF. It is also a reflection of the rapidly growing tourism industry in Myanmar. We are eagerly anticipating the start of TRAVEX and to share our country’s beauties and hospitality with all ATF participants.”

In total, some 1000 sellers comprising ASEAN hoteliers, tour operators and travel agencies, national tourism boards, airline professionals, restaurateurs, attraction and theme park owners, and companies from other sectors of the industry have snapped up 527 booths at TRAVEX on 28 and 29 January to showcase their destinations, products and services. (The list of participating exhibitors can be found at They will meet with some 300 buyers from over 40 countries at pre-scheduled one-on-one appointments to explore, negotiate and ink new deals. Three hundred local and foreign trade visitors are also expected to attend TRAVEX.

Mr Andrew Carroll, Global Head of Sales and Marketing at Exotic Voyages, said, “As a luxury travel company tour operator with a passion for extraordinary journeys, ATF has always been an important event for us to seek out new destinations and adventures for our clients. This year’s ATF in Myanmar is extra special, as Myanmar is a unique and new destination for international visitors in every sense of the word. Based in Vietnam with offices globally, we are in a unique position to provide expert local knowledge of the region to our clients from around the planet.”
(ATF 2015 opening day press release )

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