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ASEAN tourism officially reopens

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SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia, 21 January 2022: ASEAN’s tourism ministers officially announced the reopening of ASEAN tourism at the close of their meetings held in this coastal resort town earlier this week.

Representing the tourism industries of the 10-country community, the ministers launched their vision for economic restoration after more than two years battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

While acknowledging the fight to rein in Covid-19 is far from over, they outlined a shared strategy to drive recovery in the region’s tourism industry.

Reopening tourism celebration at the ATF 2022.

Reopening standouts

The ministers highlighted the need to urgently launch domestic tourism in each of the 10* countries and ease border restrictions to encourage intra-regional tourism within ASEAN.

They endorsed proposals to establish dedicated ASEAN travel gates at border checkpoints and create digital vaccination cards in a single format recognised by all the 10 countries.

But they cautioned that extending the Covid-19 vaccine campaigns remained the crucial component to achieve progress and ensure a safe reopening of tourism within ASEAN.

ASEAN travellers can expect core public health rules such as face mask-wearing, social distancing and the work at home initiatives to remain to limit the impacts of new variants. The ministers stressed that we are moving to a new normal that should enable us to live with Covid-19 as it pivots from pandemic to endemic possible by this year’s second quarter.

In their statement, the ASEAN tourism ministers encouraged the tourism industry to ensure services are compliant with all ASEAN hygiene and safety guidelines.

 Cambodia’s  Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, also announced the adoption of the New ASEAN Tourism Logo and ASEAN Safe Travel Stamp “Safe and Warm” as part of the plans to support tourism recovery.

During ATF 2022, 19 cities won the  2nd ASEAN Clean Tourist City Awards, including three cities in Cambodia, during an award ceremony at the Sokha Beach Hotel, Sihanoukville.

Award winners.

* Brunei: Tutong city.
* Cambodia: Battambang, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.
* Laos: Luang Prabang, Pakse and Viengxay.
* Malaysia: George Town, Langkawi and Muar.
* Myanmar: Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw  and Myeik.
*Thailand: Khon Kaen, Pattaya and Ko Mak.
* Vietnam: Halong, Dalat  and Vung Tau.

Commenting on the awards,  Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said they would “strengthen the attraction and competitiveness of ASEAN tourism cities as well as the quality of products and tourism services across the region.”

*ASEAN members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Sok Lu, Governor of Battambang, Kouch Chamroeun, Governor of Preah Sihanouk and Tia Seyha, Governor of Siem Reap, received the clean city awards from Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia.

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