Japan's nuclear crisis is likely to prompt Southeast Asian states to look more carefully at their plans to tap atomic energy for power generation, the head of the regional bloc said Monday. Association of Southeast Asian Nations

A unified ASEAN aviation market means that airlines would be able to fly freely over the region, transporting passengers between member states without limits imposed by individual governments in terms of routes, frequencies, airlines or aircraft types. In tandem, the single tourist visa and open skies aviation policy would have the potential to greatly improve the region’s appeal as a tourist destination, offering the opportunity to significantly increase tourist arrival numbers from the 65 million achieved in 2010. The plans have some obstacles to overcome before being implemented however, not least the inclusion of Myanmar, and local cross-border disputes, including the situation between Cambodia and Thailand.

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On January 17th the Ministers of Tourism of the six GMS countries unanimously approved the recommendations of the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy midterm review and the proposed road map for 2011-2015 presented by MTCO Project Coordinator, Christine Jacquemin. The midterm review was funded by ADB who announced there it will pursue its continuous support to tourism as a way to reduce poverty. The core recommendation of the midterm review is to adopt a spatial inclusive approach integrating the soft components which are the pillars of Sustainable tourism development (pro poor tourism, Private sector participation, protection of heritage) together with infrastructure projects. The strategy shall be implemented in 6 core priority zones, around thematic circuits linking natural and cultural heritage/destinations. Under these overarching recommendations, a road map articulated around three major programs was defined; a HRD program, a pro poor sustainable tourism development program and a comprehensive marketing program.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is planning to adopt a single visa system enabling tourists to visit any of the group’s 10 member states on a single travel document. Following the lead of Europe’s Schengen single visa system, Jakarta-based ASEAN believes that a single tourist visa policy would enhance the tourism experience in the region, boosting arrivals to member states. “The plan is realistic, action oriented, attuned to the global realities and designed to ensure that the ASEAN region can continue to be a successful tourism destination,” said Thong Khon, Cambodia’s minister of tourism at the recent ASEAN ministerial meeting, held in Phnom Penh. Earlier this year, the group recently released its ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015.

At the discussion, Minister Ha Hung Cuong expresses his thanks to the delegation for their attendance at the ceremony celebrating the 65th anniversary of Justice Sector and receiving the Gold Star Order. After briefing Vietnam’s recent socio-economic situation, he shares several new points in Ministry of Justice’s activities in 2010 as: lots of significant draft laws have been submitted and passed by National Assembly; organizational status and activities of the civil judgment enforcement agencies have been renovated; the education of Justice Sector’s staff has been consolidated. He also expresses his hope that two sides will further boost bilateral ties in corresponding with the traditional and comprehensive relation between two countries.

Vietnamese tourism companies are linking up with Kingdom firms in order to attract Cambodian tourists to the country’s resorts and health care facilities, whilst boosting cross-border visitors. During 2010, while the numbers of Vietnamese tourists arriving in Cambodia surged by 48 percent to 466,695 compared with 2009, some businesses within Vietnam also spotted an opportunity for growth by forging new alliances. One such company was state-run Vietravel Co, valued at US$76 million last year, which now holds 49 percent in a joint venture called Indochina Heritage Travel (Cambodia) with Cambodian and Vietnamese partners. While its capital investment in the new company has not been detailed, after opening two months ago, it plans to lead 100,000 Vietnamese tourists to the Kingdom during 2011 and to promote cross-border tourism.

He acknowledged developments in the relationship between the two assemblies in the past, saying that they helped boost the traditional friendship, neighbourly relations and comprehensive co-operation between the two nations. He thanked the Cambodian Assembly for its active support for Viet Nam as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Chair during the 2009-2010 term and expressed his belief that the Cambodian Assembly would fulfil its role as the Chair during the 2010-2011 term and successfully host the 32nd AIPA Assembly in the country this September.

The National Assemblies of Viet Nam and Cambodia needed to strengthen co-ordination and create the most favourable legal foundation for increasingly deep and effective co-operation between the two sides, said the former's Chairman, Nguyen Duc Kien. He also confirmed the Viet Nam Party and Government's consistent policy to attach importance to developing relations with Cambodia. He made the comments during a reception for the Cambodian Assembly's Commission on Education, Youth and Sports, Cults, Religious Affairs, Culture and Tourism chairman Mom Chim Huy in Ha Noi yesterday. Kien suggested the two assemblies pay attention to popularisation and education work so that Vietnamese and Cambodian people, especially young generations, would continuously preserve and promote the fine traditional relationship between the two countries.

Over 500 businesses from India and ASEAN countries would be participating in India-ASEAN Business Fair and Business Conclave. Indian majors like Tata Motors, BHEL, IRCON, APTECH, WAPCOS are also showcasing their product lines. The main sectors of cooperation between India and ASEAN are: Agriculture and Food Processing, Infrastructure, Tourism, Automotive, Education, Pharmaceuticals, Textiles, IT, amongst others.

The Trade and Industry Ministers from ten ASEAN Countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will deliver special address on the occasion.  The conclave is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The focus sectors of display and interest of businesses during the fair are banking, tourism, automotive, construction, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, chemicals, light engineering, electrical equipments, aluminium and stainless steel, training, health products, infrastructure, transportation logistic services, shipbuilding and repairs, jewellery, garments and food processing.
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