10 February 2023 – The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2023 held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from the 2nd to the 5th of February 2023, under the theme “Journey to Wonderful Destinations”, emphasises ASEAN’s underlying strength and commitment
to position 10 unique nations as one united destination in promoting intra-ASEAN and international travel.
A headline event of the ATF is the recognition and award of the prestigious ASEAN Tourism Standard Awards to 18 tourism businesses and stakeholders in the region. Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia MOTAC), and Datuk Hajah Saraya Arbi, Secretary General of MOTAC, attended the official announcement and awards ceremony on 5 February 2023.
The 10 ASEAN member countries deem tourism service standardisation as essential to improving the quality of tourism products and services and promoting responsible management among tourism businesses and stakeholders in the region to position ASEAN as an in-demand Quality Single Destination. This is in line with the ASEAN Strategic Tourism Plan 2016-2025, which states that “By 2025, ASEAN will be a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse ASEAN experience, and will be committed to responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balanced tourism development, so as to contribute significantly to the socioeconomic well-being of the ASEAN people.”
ASEAN Tourism Standards criteria and requirements, particularly in areas such as safety, security, health, cleanliness, environmental policy, amenities and facilities are essential to the overall travel experience. Service providers from the public and private entities are advised to follow ASEAN guidelines and standards as a key strategy for rebuilding better and regaining tourist trust and confidence.
The ASEAN tourism standards integrates and adapts various existing international and national standards, best practices, and guidelines, as well as ASEAN Member States protocols, to reflect common regional parameters.
In particular, cleanliness must be regarded as a basic service with a significant impact on the overall travel experience. Private sector industry players must change their attitudes towards the overall environment and cleanliness aspects, especially the cleanliness of public restrooms, to gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, businesses and operators are strongly urged to comply to these standards, which will bring their businesses to new heights and burnish the international image of Malaysian tourism.
ASEAN member countries were honoured in four (4) categories of ASEAN Tourism Standard Awards at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2023, including the 4th ASEAN Homestay Award, the 3rd ASEAN Community Based Tourism (CBT) Award, the 2nd
ASEAN Public Toilet Award and the 2nd ASEAN Spa Services Award. These awards recognise and honour excellent ASEAN tourism businesses and destinations that comply to the aforementioned ASEAN Tourism Standards.
The ASEAN Tourism Awards 2023 awardees are as follows: