UPDATED 1/29/2015 — It’s not only the Philippines that calls 2015 its year.
During the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, at least four other Southeast Asian countries have rolled out year-round programs.
Malaysia, whose Visit Malaysia Year just concluded when the year began, declared 2015 as Year of Festivals, also called MyFest. The thematic program that will run throughout the year is a continuation of the Visit Malaysia Year campaign from last year and aims to promote Malaysia’s culture for tourism, Malaysia’s ministry for tourism and culture explained.
The ministry unveiled MyFest last night before 300 buyers and 100 members of the media.
Meanwhile, Thailand introduced 2015 Discover Thainess as a comeback strategy after tourism arrivals plummeted in 2014 as a result of the Bangkok protests during the early part of last year. Under the program, the Tourism Authority of Thailand recommends 12 “hidden gems” or emerging provincial destinations and promotes a series of events and festivals until December.
Vietnam, on the other hand, declared 2015 as National Tourism Year with the theme “Networking World Heritages” that will promote the country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and historical attractions.
Activities will focus in Thanh Hoa, a province in the north central region known for heritage sites like the 14th-century Ho Dynasty Citadel, but other areas with heritage and historical sites will also stage their own festivals between March and December 2015.
Singapore will celebrate its 50th foundation year, with major activities and an art road show lined up throughout the year. The city-state will also host the 28th edition of the Southeast Asian Games.
Most countries are bullish about the tourism industry in 2015. A recent research by on consumer confidence revealed optimism among Southeast Asian travelers. According to MasterCard, the most optimistic market in the region is Myanmar, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia.
Regional traffic still comprise a significant portion of the countries’ national tourism arrival figures, but ASEAN has also been cooperating closely with “Plus 3” countries, namely China, South Korea, and Japan in promotions.
About 97.2 million international tourists visited ASEAN member states in 2014, a 3 percent growth from 2013.
Editor: An earlier post carried the headline “4 Southeast Asian countries declare 2015 as tourism year”. This has been changed accordingly.