Youth encouraged to expand horizons through travel

The ASEAN-Japan Centre, which aims to promote trade, investment, tourism and other exchanges between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, is holding various events this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of ASEAN.

In promotion of the Visit ASEAN@50 campaign, which the member states launched to boost regional tourism in celebration of the anniversary, the center will hold an event titled "Girls, go for a journey! Let's go to ASEAN" in Osaka on Aug. 20.

The event, specifically targeting women in their 20s, is co-organized by the center and iD Inc., which operates a travel information website Tripping!

The special guest is Hinako Umemura, nicknamed Hinanchu, the leader of girl band Silent Siren, which enjoys tremendous popularity among teenage girls and women in their 20s. Hinanchu has lived in Indonesia for 10 years and will talk about the attractions of ASEAN, which is comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Young people today are used to many forms of entertainment, such as the internet, games, TVs, manga and anime. This places travel in a relatively low position in the ranking of interest among youths. Meanwhile, they use Instagram and other social network sites every day to share their experiences with their friends and travel appears high among the experiences they want to share.

Hinanchu is the ideal person to promote ASEAN travel because she is familiar with ASEAN countries and overseas travel remains her hobby even after her return from Indonesia.

"We hope to inform people of the greatness of ASEAN countries and young women who recently began working are working hard now to select ASEAN as a travel destination at a time they deepen their interest in overseas travels during a period of change in their life environment, or to treat themselves. We also hope they continue visiting ASEAN into their 30s and 40s," the ASEAN-Japan Centre said in a press release.

The event includes the introduction of ASEAN by the editor-in-chief of Tripping!, Hinanchu's talk, a Q&A session, networking and mingling over a buffet of Southeast Asian cuisine and the announcement of winners of giveaways, including tickets to ASEAN countries and hotel vouchers.

As the sole agent in Japan to promote Visit ASEAN@50, the ASEAN-Japan Centre holds other events to educate Japanese that ASEAN is an good destination for getaways.

On Aug. 1, the center held a seminar to encourage Japanese in the travel and education industries to take students to ASEAN member states for school trips and language-learning programs.

The seminar's main organizer was the center, and its co-organizers were the tourism bureaus of Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. It was also supported by the Japan Tourism Agency, Japan Association of Travel Agents and the association on school trips in Japan.

The seminar included discussions by travel bureaus of ASEAN member states, Japanese school operators, travel insurance company employees and other people working in the travel industry.

Other than tourism, the ASEAN-Japan Centre is engaged in promoting business exchanges in cerebration of the 50th anniversary.

On Tuesday,the center and the ASEAN Committee in Tokyo will organize ASEAN 50th anniversary symposium "Reviews on ASEAN's 50 years Path to the ASEAN Community" in Tokyo, with co-organizer the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and supporters the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Japan External Trade Organization and Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The symposium includes the presentations, "A Half Century of ASEAN: Accomplishments and Challenges" by professor Susumu Yamakage, of the School of International Politics, Economics and Communication, Aoyama Gakuin University; "ASEAN Economic Community: Embracing the Future, Learning from the Past" by Dionisius A. Narjoko, senior economist, ERIA; "Looking Back at Plant Relocations to ASEAN Nations by Japanese Industry" by Jun Iijima, assistant to the general manager, Overseas Industrial Park Dept. Sumitomo Corporation; and others, followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session. Japanese-English simultaneous interpretation will be available.

Similarly on Sept. 13, the center and the Institute of International Trade and Investment will jointly organize a symposium, "50 Years of ASEAN Economic Integration: Political and Economic Integration; Benefit and Challenge" in Tokyo, with co-organization by Nihon University College of Economics and support (tentatively) of JETRO, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bunshindo Publishing Corp.

Invited speakers include professors from Tokyo University of Science, Waseda University, Keio University and other universities in Japan. The talks will be in Japanese.

Download the PDF of this 50 years of ASEAN