Foreign visitors in Vietnam.

ASEAN continues to be an attractive destination for both regional and international tourists as it recorded 90.2 million tourists in 2013, a 12 percent increase over the 2012 figure, according to Bernama.

The statement was made in the joint statement issued at the 17th ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting and the 13th Meeting of ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Ministers with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in Malaysia on January 20.

ASEAN tourism ministers hailed the good progress to date in the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015, noting that 75 percent of the measures for 2013 had been duly completed.

ASEAN ministers pledged to continuously monitor the completion of the remaining measures to support the timely establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The joint statement said that tourism ministers had endorsed the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Framework in responding to climate change to ensure the sustainable development of tourism in the region.

They adopted the ASEAN Joint Declaration on the implementation of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to recognise the tourism sector's contribution to economic and social development in the region, namely in improving people's quality of life.

The ministers agreed that the officials would continue to work closely with the relevant agencies to facilitate the development of the ASEAN Common Visa for non-ASEAN nationals and its possible implications on the tourism sector.

In addition, the ASEAN ministers took note of the progress made in developing the ASEAN Ecotourism Strategic Plan that would serve as an effective tool in promoting sustainable economic development through the conservation of nature-based tourism in the region.

The 17th ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting (AFT 2014) with the theme "ASEAN - Advancing Tourism Together'', the 13th Meeting of ASEAN Plus Three and ASEAN-related meeting, ASEAN Tourism Forum and the Travel Exchange (Travex 2014) are taking place in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia from January 16-23, 2014.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan led the Vietnamese delegation to attend the events.

ATF 2015 is expected to be held in Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar, in January 2015 with the theme, "Asean Tourism Towards Peace, Prosperity and Partnership".

Source: VNA