ASEANTA builds up role in region


ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) is determined to play a larger role within the regional tourism landscape, a goal it is working towards by seeking out new sources of income.

The association’s newly elected president, Mohd Khalid Harun, said: “We would like ASEANTA to be able to advise the governments in terms of policies and be actively involved in decision-making.”

He added that, at times, there were decisions taken by the governments that ASEANTA was not aware of and could have given its input on.

While the ASEANTA board meeting is a platform for communication between the public and private sectors, Mohd Khalid said regular dialogue was better.

“That is why we need to reactivate the ASEANTA secretariat. We already have it, but there is no staff as we have no money. We need to generate income to be able to function well,” he said, adding that he intended to engage project partners, such as IT and credit card companies, to explore joint opportunities.

ASEANTA also wants to organise ATF’s Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) and its conference component, starting with next year’s edition in Malaysia.

“ASEANTA members are professionals in the industry. In Malaysia, for example, we have the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA), which is an operational body, whose members are experts in the business. We will bid as ASEANTA, let (a PCO) run it and share the profit.

“However, the final decision remains with the host country,” said Mohd Khalid, who became president following the ASEANTA board meeting on January 19, which saw predecessor Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association chairman, Yanti Sukamdani, stepping down after completing her two-year term.