With the theme “ASEAN-The Power of One”, the forum looks to realize an ASEAN of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
It brought together around 2,000 delegates from national tourism agencies of the ASEAN countries, the UNWTO, and local and international travel companies and tourism media outlets.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said through 38 years, the ATF has proved its increasingly important impact on tourism in ASEAN in particular and on socio-economic, political, cultural, and tourism cooperation in general.
For Vietnam, it will help the country to make policies to develop its tourism sector in a fast and sustainable manner and underline the efforts of the country and other ASEAN members in building a wealthy ASEAN Community and a reliable partner, he said.
The forum lays a foundation for ASEAN to become a quality destination providing visitors with experiences in a diverse and unique ASEAN, he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said tourism proved its role as a leading economic sector of Vietnam’s economy. In 2018, the sector catered for 15.6 million international visitors and 80 million domestic tourists, contributing 8 percent of the national GDP.
The ATF 2019 is an opportunity for Vietnam to assert its position in regional tourism cooperation and introduce its huge potential, he said.
The ATF, established in 1981, is a regional effort to promote ASEAN as one tourist destination. The annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member states.
This year, the event also includes India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia and China.