The Special Meeting of ASEAN and China, Japan, Korea Tourism Ministers was convened on August 9, 2003 in Beijing, China at the initiative of the China National Tourism Administration to formulate post-SARS strategies to revitalize and restore tourism in this region and to inform the tourism industry and media of the world that Asia’s tourism has returned to normal and is ready to welcome tourists from all over the world. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office of Lao PDR and H.E. Mr. He Guangwei, Chairman of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). The Meeting was preceded by a Preparatory Meeting by the National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) from ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea on 7-8 August 2003.

H.E. Madam Wu Yi, Vice Premier of the State Council of China attended the Meeting. In her opening speech, she pointed out that this Meeting bears significance in sharing experience in revitalizing the tourism industry, discussing measures to enhance tourism co-operation, and promoting tourism development of this region and even the world. The Vice Premier emphasized that together with ASEAN, Japan and Korea, China would like to play an active role to accomplish the historical task on revitalizing tourism and promoting the socio-cultural and economic prosperity of this region, to make new contributions to the health and welfare of our human society.

The Ministers had a fruitful exchange of views on the current situations of the tourism industry after SARS. They unanimously acknowledged the urgency and necessity of cooperation to realize mutual prosperity in the tourism industry in the region, and pledged commitments to revitalize international and intra-regional tourism. The Ministers agreed that in case of contingencies all the countries should thoroughly exchange information, share experience and strengthen cooperation.

The Ministers adopted the “Beijing Declaration on Revitalizing Tourism for ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea” and instructed Senior Tourism Officials to intensify the work through the full development of the tourism potentials in ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea and implement joint promotion.

The Ministers strongly condemned the bombing in Jakarta on 5 August 2003 as a heinous and ruthless act of terrorism. The Ministers expressed deep concern and sympathy to the victims and conveyed condolence to the bereaved families. They stood by the solidarity that the re-occurrence of such irresponsible act will not hinder the effort of tourism revitalization and restoration in this region. In this regard, the Ministers issued the Joint Statement and Concern on Terrorism Attack in Jakarta.

List of the Tourism Ministers attended the Meeting:

(i) H.E. Mr. Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, Director General of Brunei Tourism, Brunei Darussalam;
(ii) H.E. Mr. Thong Khon, Secretary of State of Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia;
(iii) H.E. Mr. He Guangwei, Chairman of China National Tourism Administration, China;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Thamrin B. Bachri, Deputy Minister for Capacity Building and International Relation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia;
(v) H.E. Mr. Koki Chuma, Senior Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan;
(vi) H.E. Mr. Lee Chang Dong, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Korea;
(vii) H.E. Mr. Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Lao PDR;
(viii) H.E. Dato’ Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, Malaysia;
(ix) H.E. Brigadier General Thein Zaw, Minister of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar;
(x) H.E. Mr. Richard J. Gordon, Secretary of Tourism, Philippines;
(xi) H.E. Mr. Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore;
(xii) H.E. Mr. Sontaya Kunplome, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand;
(xiii) H.E. Mr. Pham Tu, Vice-Chairman of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam; and
(xiv) H.E. Mr. Tran Duc Minh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Secretariat.