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ADB helps Southeast Asia revive tourism, boost sustainable investments

VGP - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has set up a US$1.7 million technical assistance facility to accelerate Southeast Asia’s tourism recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as boost inclusive and sustainable development in the sector.

12/18/2021 12:35

The Southeast Asia Sustainable Tourism Facility will help countries identify and prepare environmentally sustainable tourism projects and catalyze private financing to support them. It will help businesses better operate tourism facilities and deliver digital tourism services.

The facility will also help policy makers design visa, online short-term rental, and other policies to attract longer-staying, higher-spending visitors and remote workers, allow more small entrepreneurs to legitimately operate accommodation services, and boost tourism tax revenues.

This new facility aims to help ADB’s developing member countries in Southeast Asia revive tourism, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, said ADB Principal Tourism Industry Specialist for Southeast Asia Steven Schipani.

Projects supported by the facility will develop green and resilient urban and transport infrastructure in secondary cities to improve the tourism sector’s competitiveness, help create jobs, protect the environment, and accelerate inclusive digital transformations, he added.

In 2019, travel and tourism accounted for 12.1 percent of Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employed 42 million workers, mostly women working for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

But international visitor arrivals dropped 82 percent in 2020 from 2019, while domestic tourism remains constrained by travel restrictions and reduced economic activity. The sector’s contribution to regional GDP fell by 53 percent in 2020, pushing more people into poverty.

The facility will support key tourism-related priorities set out by ASEAN and subregional tourism strategies in Southeast Asia.

By Thuy Dung