You’d think it would be difficult to present a united front when you’re spread across 20,000 islands, a continental landmass, and represent one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions. But somehow the nations of ASEAN do it, and do it well.
Maybe it’s because the region already draws enough tourists to go around. More likely they’re just a friendly lot who know what’s good for the region is good for each nation.
It is with this kinship in mind that the tourism authorities of five of the region’s ten countries - Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia - came together in Sydney last night (Thursday).
Nurazah Jalaludin, acting director of Tourism Malaysia (Sydney), and current chairperson for the ASEAN Promotional Chapter of Tourism in Australia, said that while “each member state continues to promote their own country, the ten ASEAN member states also work together to promote Southeast Asia”.
To this end, Ms Jalaludin flagged the region’s “unlimited variety in terms of culture, landscape, people, flora and fauna, food, handicrafts, entertaining, shopping”, and more.
She also highlighted the ASEAN Tourism Strategy Plan, which aims to raise awareness of the region “as a big, sustainable and inclusive tourism destination with a focus on digital marketing and partnerships”, and whose funding has recently doubled thanks to injections from each national tourism office.
With Casey Burgess emceeing, guests heard updates from each country while picking up incredible travel prizes - to every destination - along the way.
And what was on the menu at a multinational event like this? Think ikan bakar (from Malaysia and Indonesia) and larb gai (Thailand) as entrees, beef and rendang curry (Malaysia) and adobo chicken (Philippines) for mains, and pandan and coconut mousse with mango sorbet (all over!) for dessert. Delicious. Just like the whole region.
Traveltalk was the only travel trade media at the event, which was held at the Radisson Blu Plaza Sydney.
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