ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard – a tool for sustainable development of ASEAN cities

(TITC) – Responding to the impacts of climate change and contributing to the sustainable development, ASEAN member countries built ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS) – a tool that will improve the quality of tourism in their cities, increase their marketing competitiveness but also improve the situation of local residents and their livelihood by alleviating poverty.

Recently tourism in Southeast Asia has developed rapidly as the region is becoming one of the prime destinations on the world tourism map. Tourism is considered to be one of the main sectors or national and regional economic development.

In any discussion of economic development, growth is not an end in itself… the fundamental objective should not be growth but rather broad progress in living standards. After all, growth is an imperfect proxy for the pace and breadth of progress in living standards. But while it may not be sufficient for economic success, it certainly is necessary. In all societies, socioeconomic progress is simply not possible without rising employment, income and wealth. Thus, both the quantity and quality of growth matter. The ultimate objective must be to generate Big growth—i.e. strong growth that is also Balanced in the sense of being resilient and stable rather than exacerbating inequality, and of course Green in the sense of ensuring environmentally sustainable development. Green growth is therefore best understood as a new paradigm to create a new model that produces faster but also wider, more resilient and more environmentally sustainable economic progress. Tourism can play a key role in achieving the quantitative and qualitative aspects of growth.

While cities are well developed across the region, some are only just emerging as tourism destinations. This is the ideal opportunity to encourage cities to develop as they are gateways to the country first welcoming tourists. It is crucial for national and regional tourism development to maintain and enhance the good image and reputation of cities— the ‘face’ of the country—where cultural, natural and man-made attractions exist.

It is strategically important for cities to strive to develop beautiful areas, improve their environment and sanitation, enhance urban spaces and promote the attractions they have to offer. Certainly, the tourist hospitality and welcome in urban areas are very important because many tourist attractions are located in and adjacent to the cities. The local authorities must seriously consider the environmental aspects and living standards in their cities if they are to provide hospitality and to fulfill tourist needs.  Thus introducing and establishing the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard is necessary, providing ASEAN member states with common benchmarks to aim for in order to achieve greater tourist satisfaction, greater numbers of visitors and better conditions for the local population.

ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (ATSP) has indicated the enhancement of the ability of ASEAN tourism to address the climate change issue as one of the priority actions in order to accomplish its strategic directions aimed at increasing the quality of services and facilities in the region.

The standard is based on a series of indicators that will evaluate how sustainable ASEAN cities currently are, the quality of the tourism they offer and identify areas that can be improved. It will provide ASEAN member countries with benchmarks to aim for and ultimately lead to greater tourist satisfaction, greater numbers of visitors and better conditions for the local population.

The standard focuses on tourist cities where there is flow of visitors and where cultural, natural and/or man-made attractions exist. The indicators evaluated in the ACTCS are based on: (1) Environmental Management – 28 scores; (2) Cleanliness – 16 scores, (3) Waste Management – 20 scores, (4) Awareness-building about Environmental Protection and Cleanliness – 9 scores, (5) Green Spaces – 5 scores, (6) Health Safety and Urban Safety and Security – 12 scores; (7) Tourism Infrastructure and Facilities – 18 scores. Total scores are 108.

ASEAN Cities that get at least 60% of total scores will be awarded the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Label. The award-winning cities shall receive the certificate of appreciation and plaque imprinting with the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Label with 3 year validity.

The certification process will use the following mechanism: (a) The certification to be carried out by one (1) national certification body/ committee appointed by respective NTOs; (b) Self-assessment would be carried out by applicants; (c) National certification body/committee to conduct site visit and develop audit report; (d) Once the city fulfills the criteria and requirement of the Standard, respective NTOs would update QTWG; (e) The certificate validity: three years; and (f) Nominations should be made by Member States on a voluntary basis, and there would be no limit on number of cities to be awarded. There would be no category of city.

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