KUCHING: The 16th East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) aims to continuously develop the unique contents of this region through tourism, apart from inculcating in the current generation a responsible attitude to leave unique assets as valuable heritage for them and the next generation to discover, experience and take inspiration from.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah led a Sarawak delegation to attend the three-day forum in Tottori, Japan, which concluded yesterday.
He was joined by the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, assistant secretary Jee Chin Fu and acting Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Mary Wan Mering.
This edition of EATOF, themed ‘Sustainable Local Tourism Legacy Development’, held various activities including the meeting of its standing committee, the ‘Governor’s Conference’, the ‘EATOF Night’, the ‘Travel Mart’, the ‘National Mountain Day’ celebration, series of bilateral meetings and technical tours.
The phrase ‘Discover, Experience, Inspire’ was chosen as EATOF’s global slogan to realise the shared goals by designating 2019-2020 as the years of ‘EATOF Global Campaign’.
A joint declaration by governors of member countries was also carried out to recognise the endowed natural environmental, cultural heritage, peace and eco-tourism, which had been the strong foundation of tourism industries in the region.
In view of this, member countries would continue to pay attention and cooperate on the development of tourism programmes based on emerging themes such as sustainable conservation and development, peace and eco-tourism.
The city of Quang Ninh in Vietnam will host the 17th EATOF, in 2020. Founded in 2000, EATOF strives to pursue peace and prosperity through exchanges in diverse fields, especially tourism. It is the only international tourism association in East Asia.
Currently, EATOF has 10-member provinces – Sarawak (Malaysia), Cebu (the Philippines), Gangwon (South Korea), Jilin (China), Tuv (Mongolia), Tottori (Japan), Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Quang Ninh (Vietnam), Siem Reap (Cambodia) and Luang Prabang (Laos).
Sarawak, apart from its active participation in EATOF, would continue to leverage on its membership in several other regional cooperation platforms – namely the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Social Economic Malaysia-Indonesia (Sosek Malindo), Sabah-Sarawak-Labuan Joint Tourism Coordination and Collaboration Committee (SSLJTCC), and Sarawak-Brunei Bilateral Cooperation Tourism Working Group – to develop joint activities, marketing and promotion of tourism in the region.