ASIA - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is urging tour operators from the 10-member states of the grouping to develop multi-country packages highlighting the so-called "experiential and creative tourism".
Such a kind of tourism is reportedly a rising trend among consumers seeking more authentic travel experience, said Aung Zaw Win, chair of the Asean tourism product development working group.
This means travellers get to enjoy multi-destination packages that allow them to experience unlimited variety in terms of culture, landscape, people, flora and fauna, food, handicrafts, entertainment, shopping, recreation and excitement, within the 10 member countries of the Asean.
"Our new focus is on experiential and creative tourism that respects environment and culture. An authentic travel experience involves meaningful engagement with the heritage, arts and special character of our Asean destinations," Win was quoted in a statement as saying.
"Today's travellers are more sophisticated and interested in unique experiences with immersion in local ways of life. Our role is to therefore support multi-country experiential travel within Asean member states," he further said.
According to the statement, Asean, is now promoting six experiential and creative themes that are expected to encourage multi-country trips across Southeast Asia.
The themed promotions, which are part of the implementation of the Asean Tourism Marketing Strategy 2012-2015, include: "The Tastes of Southeast Asia"; "Asean, a Tropical Paradise"; "World Class Cities"; "Experience Diverse Traditions"; "Sport and Relaxation"; and "Diverse Contemporary Creativity".
To inspire travellers, the Asean has compiled a series of features about themes such as beach, nature and wildlife; cruise tour and rail; culture and heritage; education and volunteering; food and nightlife; fun and leisure; health and spa; outdoor and water sports, and pilgrimage tourism.
An initial list of 20 tour operators offering the themes in multi-country itineraries are listed on the Asean travel website.
More trips are being added to cover all the 10 Asean nations-the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam-called "Asia's perfect 10 paradise".
The Asean's tourism strategy bodes well with the Philippine government's goal of hitting 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016. As of the end of April, tourist arrivals rose by 10.12 per cent to 1.65 million from 1.498 million a year ago.