í@ KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 25(Xinhuanet)-- ASEAN tourism ministers Tuesday pledged to cooperate toward an ASEAN integration in the field of tourism by 2010.
The decision was contained in the Langkawi Declaration releasedat the end of the two-day 8th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers in Langkawi, north Malaysia.
The Association of South East Asian Nations(ASEAN), grouping 10 states in the region, was established in 1967 to boost regionalcooperation.
Reading out the declaration at a press conference, Malaysian Tourism Minister Leo Michael Toyad, who chaired the meeting, said the tourism ministers pledged to further strengthen their cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment"to promote the development of a dynamic, prosperous, sustainable and safe tourismsector in the region."
"It is consistent with the objectives stated in the decisions of the ASEAN leaders at the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane last Nov. 29, on the Integration of Tourism Sector and Vientiane ActionProgram," he said.
Toyad said that the ministers also pledged to strengthen their collaboration with stakeholders, the private sector, non-governmental organizations(NGOs) and international organizations in the growth and development of travel and tourism in the region.
He said they were also willing to work closely to remove all impediments to travel and tourism within the grouping and further promote ASEAN as a single destination.
They would enhance the safety and security of travelers, thereby restoring confidence, while recognizing that the efficientand effective facilitation of travel was vital for the continued growth of the industry, he said.
The declaration also pledged to enhance communications and networking among ASEAN member countries in order to response timely during crises as well as to establish a special working group to facilitate and recommend further tourism integration measures on realizing the ASEAN Economic Community, he said.
In conjunction with the ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting, the one-day fourth meeting of the Tourism Ministers of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea(10+3) on Tuesday agreed to undertake concrete measures to encourage travel to the tsunami-affected areas.
The tidal wave, triggered by a massive undersea earthquake off Sumatra island in Indonesia, killed 68 people in northwestern Malaysia and some 200,000 across Asia.