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Talking About Maximizing Tourism Potential in ASEAN

Southeast Asia has a rich and diverse set of cultural tourism resources. Thus, tourism is one of the priority sectors under the ASEAN Economic Community pillar. We expect that by 2025, ASEAN will be a quality tourism destination offering a unique and diverse experience that is responsible, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive to contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of people. Therefore, ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025 was made.

According to the 2020 study, Indonesia has implemented 64 percent of the ATSP in tourism policies to accelerate economic growth and improve Indonesian tourism. Two of Indonesia's implementations are intensifying promotion and marketing programs and attracting tourism investment programs.

First, intensifying promotion and marketing has been done through branding, advertising, and selling. Branding has promoted Indonesian tourism through (a) placing advertisements on electronic media, (b) holding festivals abroad, and (c) procuring family trips.

Based on the 2019 data from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, branding through electronic media has carried out publications with a total of more than five thousand broadcast spots on various international channels, such as BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, FOX, JTBC, and National Geographic. Branding through festivals abroad has been carried out in various countries, including America, the Netherlands, China, India, England, Germany, South Korea, France, Russia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. Branding through family trips has been done by bringing foreign tourists in a group of tour packages offered.

If electronic media has become the main base of branding, print media is the main base for advertising. The advertising usually takes place in the magazine, especially inflight magazines such as Air China, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar, and KLM. Nevertheless, advertising has been done too in other magazines such as CREA Traveler, Lonely Planet India, and Tokyo Jin, and it also has been done in the newspaper such as De Telegraaf, Shukan Asahi, and Wing Travel Weekly.

The exhibition is one of the ways to do the selling. Throughout 2019, The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy participated in 49 international tourism exhibitions, namely International Tourismo Borse in Germany, Arabian Travel Mart in the United Arab Emirates, and Tourism Exhibition in India.

Second, attracting tourism investment to develop ASEAN tourism. Investment from both government and private sectors is essential. According to the Investment Coordinating Board data, the realization of investment in the tourism sector in 2016-2017 experienced positive growth. Although it decreased in 2018, reinvestment increased in 2019, which reached 1900 million dollars. The realized value of tourism investment in 2019 has increased compared to the realized value of tourism in previous years. Although the realization of investment has decreased again during the pandemic, Indonesia still has excellent potential as an investment destination, especially tourism investment. 

Several tourism investment promotion activities that have been carried out are the facilitation of the Indonesia Pavilion Support in Switzerland, Focus Eastern Indonesia in Australia, and Socialization and Coaching Clinic of People's Business Loans in several areas in Indonesia.

There are at least three contributing factors to those implementations: Attractions, Amenities, and Accessibility.

Attractions are the reason why an area is worth a visit for tourists. It answers the "what" question in tourism: what is there for, what can be seen, what will the tourists enjoy, and what kind of experience will it be. It can be nature tourism, cultural tourism, or artificial tourism. For extraordinary natural and cultural attractions, Indonesia already has them since the beginning.

Amenity relates to tourism supporting facilities, such as residences, hospitals, shopping centers, houses of worship, and culinary delights. Meanwhile, Accessibility relates to transportation facilities and infrastructure. For example, the opening of direct flights from abroad encourages tourism to Indonesia and ASEAN.

However, these things still need and will continue to be improved to keep up with the times and market demand. Not only Indonesia but each member state of ASEAN is also expected to adjust its domestic policy on tourism based on ATSP.

In executing ASEAN activities at the regional level, there should be sufficient resources. There are several resource options: support by dialogue partners, equal contribution by each member state, and responsibility on the lead country of concerning activity. Because each ASEAN member country has its own weaknesses that need to be covered up by another country, an equal contribution is recommended. 

Equal here does not mean the same. Each of ASEAN countries may have its own region's goals and objectives. However, as long as we embark upon a new phase of tourism development in the region with a great strategic plan and commitment together, the ASEAN region can continue to be a thriving tourism destination.


  Wulandari, V. (2020). IMPLEMENTASI ASEAN TOURISM STRATEGIC PLAN DI INDONESIA TAHUN 2016–2020. EJournal Hubungan Internasional, 8(1), 476–485. Retrieved from–485)%20(01–19-21-10-25-41).pdf


  Zahwa, A. (2018). The Contribution of ASEAN Tourism Forum on The Development of Indonesia’s Tourism Destination 2011–2015. President University. Retrieved from

Notes: This is my third-week commentary paper for AYIEP 2021.


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