ASEAN is the region organization of Southeast Asia countries that consists of ten countries with unique characters of different cultures. Things that make this region become more interesting are they have different cultures that just growing in a region although they are coming from similar family. It may be said that the richness of cultural character really is a great resources to move into newest tourism world capital.
Entering the modern era of tourism is now growing not only as an advocate for other economic sectors. Tourism has grown as one of the industry and some countries in Southeast Asia would make tourism as a major economic force. The increasing of human civilization level make tourism became a liability. Moreover, tourism has emerged in various ways not only as recreation but also for doing business. In other words, ASEAN can grow with the current economic conditions of the wealth of tourism resources. It is not even an exaggeration to say that tourism can foster the development of Southeast Asia Nations countries alone.
ASEAN tourism growing began with success when ASEAN launched Visit ASEAN logo and program that encourage foreign tourists to travel in Southeast Asian countries. But, behind the success of ASEAN’s visit is stored on some constraints so that only a handful of people or parties who enjoy the benefits of the Visit ASEAN earlier. These constraints appear in the middle of optimism of every Southeast Asian Nation will be successful tourism respectively.
The first obstacle is the lack of unity among Southeast Asian countries. These nations are always busy with political problems even among countries that are very close in terms of territory. However, to start a sturdy foundation of Southeast Asian development and unity between fellow citizens must be maintained. So, it’s time to get rid of the political attitude of hostility between the nations of Southeast Asia because basically the ten nations of this region have a great friendship from its history.
The tourism industry of the nations of Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia is growing rapidly lately. The evidence suggests increasing the number of tourists visiting with around 51 millions in 2006 became 65 millions in 2009, although hampered global economic difficulties. But, unfortunately, the tourism success story of the nations is not done independently. This will become our second obstacle because tourism in this region is more controlled by foreigners. Foreign investors invest lots of money, however local investors face a hard way to compete. So, what’s the point of Southeast Asia’s tourism success if the results of its success are still not able to be felt residents of Southeast Asia itself?
Last constraint is the lack of some potential areas of tourism in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia countries are endowed by God with the richness of culture and beautiful island. However, due to the weakness of marketing, regional Southeast Asia is still less famous than other regions such as Europe or Latin America. So there are many undiscovered areas or island which can be extracted again to be marketed into outside Southeast Asia region.
Now is thought to focus on the following years. Learning from what is happening at the present and the past, tourism climate of Southeast Asian nations was very positive. Moreover, the passion of Southeast Asian people to have tour by country cognate still high. Hotels, travels, and the airlines offer some attractive packages to travel internally in Southeast Asia. However, the prism of the three constraints above we should bear in various efforts to further strengthen tourism in our region.
The main and first thing to do is to maintain the unity among the people of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian youth as the future backbone of this regional should always come together and unite. Some programs can be done to unite the youth for example by organizing many youth conferences. One of them is Chulalongkorn University International Conference 2011. Lots of conference will culminate in the unification of the youth of Southeast Asia, reducing feelings of enmity, and enhance understanding of Southeast Asia that fellow citizens are brothers. International conference will also bring new bright ideas. Youth conference who will wrestle in the world tourism will foster constructive views to the success of tourism in Southeast Asia. After the union realized the next effort is to establish a business forum or the associations that hold perpetrators of Southeast Asian tourism. For example, chef association, the association of Southeast Asian hotelier, Southeast Asia travel forum, youth tourism Southeast Asia association, and Southeast Asia tourism business forum. Tourism business forum is an initial step to unify the tourism vision as a pillar of ASEAN development for periods in the future.
The next step is to invest in the areas of ASEAN tourism potential untapped. Remember is that investment should be made by the local investors by reducing dependence on foreign capital. There are many attractive tourist areas in Southeast Asia or countries such as Myanmar, Laos, or Cambodia unspoiled.
The next effort is creating a single regional currency like Euro in European Union. The creation of the EURO as did the European Union led to the ease of transactions among the nations in a regional. This should be immediately implemented in Southeast Asia even if the level of competition among currencies of Southeast Asia is still vulnerable to implement this policy.
The effort is quite important is to strengthen the education level of the perpetrator of tourism. The perpetrators of tourism in Southeast Asia still focus on based education, prepare them as a worker, and never focus to create an expert in the field of tourism. Whereas tourism business today require a specialists such as finance, marketing, or a world class tourism business expertise. We can establish a special tourism school under the organization of ASEAN Tourism.
At the core of culture which is owned by the nations of Southeast Asia is a remarkable resource that is not owned by any other regional in the world. It is an ancestral property that invested to us to navigate the modern industry today. This is a value of historical treasures eroded by civilization era. But in fact the culture is the key of success of Southeast Asian nations to raise the growth of the tourism industry. Good tourism growth will lead to development on all sides in the nations of Southeast Asia. Welfare level will be high, the unemployment rate will go down, cultural richness will be maintained, the stronger defense, and security, brotherhood of fellow Southeast Asian nation will be more awake, as well as politically, and last but not least the voice of Southeast Asian nations increasingly taken into account in the international political world. So, it is the right time to wake the ASEAN up by exploiting our culture and resources through tourism industry. It is the time for us.