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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM RESEARCH Int. J. Tourism Res.

12, 291302 (2010) Published online 3 November 2009 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/jtr.757

Understanding ASEAN Tourism Collaboration the Preconditions and Policy Framework Formulation
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Emma P. Y. Wong1,*, Nina Mistilis2 and Larry Dwyer2 Centre for Tourism and Services Research, Victoria University, Australia 2 School of Marketing, University of New South Wales, Australia ABSTRACT Intergovernmental collaboration in tourism among ASEAN nations has received little attention in the literature despite the signicant contribution that tourism makes in the region. This paper helps improve our understanding of the phenomenon by providing empirical evidence that explains the preconditions that gave rise to ASEAN tourism and the formulation of its policy framework. It is suggested that, to truly realise the vision of economic integration and sustainable tourism development, continuous efforts are required to establish, promote and protect the common interests of member countries. Policy-makers should also strive for a good balance between pragmatism and mechanism when implementing policies. Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received 19 February 2009; Revised 6 October 2009; Accepted 6 October 2009

contribution that tourism makes in the region, there are very few studies that examine ASEAN tourism collaboration. The majority of existing studies that are related to ASEAN economic cooperation deal with general framework agreements, namely ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). Collaboration in specic economic sectors is overlooked by researchers. Each supranational organisation forms and operates in a specic context. Often, existing theories cannot fully explain the various interactions within these organisations. Using ASEAN tourism as a case study, we identied the unique features of this collaboration. These ndings do not only help expand the boundaries of existing theories and thus contribute to the literature, but also provide input into improving ASEAN tourism policies, which in turn enhances the contribution of tourism to the development of the region. This study has three objectives: (1) to identify the factors and conditions under which members of ASEAN have entered into a collaborative relationship in tourism development; (2) to identify the factors involved in the process of formulating the existing ASEAN tourism policy framework; and (3) to discuss some implications for ASEAN countries to improve their collaboration in tourism. While the authors acknowledge the presence of bilateral agreements and partnerships such as BIMP-EAGA (Brunei DarussalamIndonesiaMalaysiaPhilippines East ASEAN Growth Area), this paper focuses on explicit ASEAN initiatives in tourism collaboration.
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: intergovernmental collaboration; ASEAN; tourism policy. INTRODUCTION espite the continuous cooperative endeavour among ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member nations since 1998 and the signicant

*Correspondence to: Dr. Emma Wong, Lecturer, School of HTM, Victoria University, PO Box 14428, Melbourne, Vic. 8001, Australia. E-mail: emma.wong@vu.edu.au

292 RESEARCH CONTEXT ASEAN was established as a means of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia by providing a forum for the discussion and resolution of regional issues that had the potential to destabilise the region. Five countries ofcially formed the Association on 8 August 1967: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Together with Brunei, which joined on 8 January 1984, the six countries are also known as ASEAN-6. With the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War, there was no longer a pressing need for ASEAN countries to fear their communist neighbours such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. These countries had started to abandon central planning and implement market-oriented economic reforms since the early 1980s, changes that implicated trade and investment opportunities and indicated that ASEAN regional grouping needed to be enlarged to maintain relevance. The momentum to expand ASEAN was further accelerated by the need to strengthen the regions voice in international trading bodies, such as the AsiaPacic Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), the World Trade Organization, and in negotiations with the European Union (Tan, 2003). Between 1995 and 1997, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam joined ASEAN. They are sometimes referred to as newer members with lessdeveloped economies. The long-term goal of ASEAN is to establish a free trade area in Southeast Asia (Yeh, 2002). While ASEANs economic emphasis has most often focused on trade in manufactured goods, minerals and fuels, tourism has grown to become an important consideration, in large part due to the rapid growth of the industry in the region (Timothy, 2003). Thus, there is a need to include tourism in the ASEAN trade agenda and effort. Tourism is forecast to continue growing more rapidly than any other global region and currently is greatly signicant to ASEAN destinations. Inbound tourism includes intraASEAN travel (well over 50% for Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar) and extra-ASEAN (at least 70% for Cambodia, the Philippines,
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E. P. Y. Wong, N. Mistilis and L. Dwyer Vietnam and Thailand (ASEAN, 2009). While such differences in the proportion of market sources may affect the countries perception of the importance of intra- or extra-ASEAN travel, no country could ignore the signicant growth of the regional market, from 33 million in 2002 to 65.5 million in 2008 (UNWTO, 2003; ASEAN 2009). In fact, according to UNWTO, the Southeast Asian region is expected to experience an average annual growth rate of 6.3% between 1995 and 2020. By 2020, the regional arrival gure is projected to reach 136 million per annum (UNWTO, 2000), illustrating the growing importance of tourism for and the interdependence among ASEAN nations. METHOD The research adopts a case approach. Case study is deemed appropriate in examining contemporary events when the relevant behaviours cannot be manipulated. The case approach deals with evidence collected from direction observation of events and interviews of people involved (Yin, 2003). Considering the fact that the current research concerns a contemporary social phenomenon that cannot be manipulated by researchers, case study is an appropriate research strategy for this research. Various sources of evidence were used in this study, including ofcial documents from ASEAN, non-ofcial publications (e.g. academic journals, books, newspapers and trade magazines) and interviews with key stakeholders involved. The use of multiple sources allowed data triangulation and thus enhanced the credibility and dependability of ndings (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). In-depth interviews were conducted in January to March 2005 and January to February 2006 by means of interviews. A total of 22 face-to-face and telephone interviews were administered and two email responses were received. Twenty-one individuals took part in the study, three of whom were interviewed twice. Among the 21 participants, 13 were government ofcials, representing nine out of the 10 ASEAN member countries; the other eight represented international organisations (e.g. ASEAN Secretariat; Asian Development Bank), industry associations (e.g. ASEAN Tourism
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

ASEAN Tourism Policies Association; Pacic Asia Travel Association) and the academia or consultancies (e.g. Institute of Southeast Asia Studies; Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre). All data were inputted into the software NVivo 2.0 for analysis. NVivo is a data management and analytical tool that not only facilitates coding of data, but, through its searching and modelling tools, also enable researchers to conrm propositions and to explore new relationships embedded in the data. The basic underlying logic is that ideas expressed in the data are broken down into simple units of concepts and the software can illustrate the relationships among selected concepts in tabular or graphical formats. FINDINGS Preconditions for ASEAN tourism collaboration As a rst step to better understand ASEAN tourism collaboration, we examined how the collaboration was formed. Interorganisational relations (IOR) is a general term that includes relationships such as association, alliance and collaboration. There is no one best theory that explains IOR, and scholars over the years have adopted an integrative approach to examine what leads to IOR formation. Studies by Oliver (1990) and Gray and Wood (1991) have made important contributions towards this end. Gray and Wood (1991) identied six major theoretical perspectives that appear to have signicant possibilities for explaining IOR in general, and specically ASEAN tourism collaboration: (1) Resource dependence theory argues that organisations will respond to demands made by external actors or organisations upon whose resources they are heavily dependent, and that they will try to minimise that dependence when possible (Pfeffer and Salancik, 1978; Aram, 1989; Logsdon, 1991; Bramwell and Lane, 2000). (2) Corporate social performance theory and institutional economics theory explain collaboration by the organisations intention to achieve effectiveness and social
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293 legitimacy (Gordon, 1980; Freeman, 1984; Pasquero, 1991; Stafford et al., 2000). Strategic management theory and social ecology theory emphasise the conditions of scarcity and collective problems in collaboration (Levine and White, 1961; Skidmore, 1979; Astley, 1984; Selsky, 1991; Westley and Vredenburg, 1991). Microeconomic theories explain collaboration by the efciency that organisations seek to achieve during the process (Ross, 1973; Williamson, 1979; Husted, 1994). Institutional theory and negotiated order theory highlight the structural changes and negotiations involved between organisations seeking to achieve legitimacy (Day and Day, 1977; Eisenhardt, 1988; Nathan and Mitroff, 1991; Sharfman et al., 1991). Political theories emphasise the role of power and interests in forming collaboration (Keohane and Nye, 1977; Heymann, 1987; Golich, 1991).

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

These six theoretical perspectives are similar to those identied by Oliver (1990), who suggests that there are six generalisable determinants of relationship formation necessity, asymmetry, reciprocity, efciency, stability and legitimacy. The determinants are not mutually exclusive and may coexist. Necessity refers to a relationship formed to meet necessary legal or regulatory requirements; asymmetry for relationships prompted by the potential to exercise power or control over another organisation or its resources; reciprocity when organisations want to pursue common or mutually benecial goals or interests; efciency when organisations want to improve its internal output/input ratio; stability when environmental uncertainty prompts organisations to establish relationship to achieve stability, predictability and dependability in their relations with others; and, nally, legitimacy for relationships that are established to demonstrate or improve an organisations reputation or congruence with prevailing norms in its institutional environment. In what follows, we integrate the ndings of Oliver (1990) and Gray and Wood (1991), and focus on three of these preconditions necessity, reciprocity and stability. As explained below, they seem to have particular relevance
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

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E. P. Y. Wong, N. Mistilis and L. Dwyer

Table 1. Preconditions of interorganisational relations (IOR) formation Precondition Necessity Explanation IOR is established to meet necessary legal or regulatory requirements. Theoretical perspective(s) (Conict with resource dependence and exchange theories which emphasise voluntary interactions and contingent cooperation.) Exchange and microeconomic theories, alternative to resource interdependence perspective. Strategic management and resource dependence theories the propensity of organisations to engage in IOR is a function of both the need for reducing uncertainty and the feasibility of doing so effectively through interorganisational linkages (Pfeffer and Salancik, 1978: 155).

Reciprocity

IOR occurs for the purpose of pursuing common or mutually benecial goals or interests (i.e. common stakes). Cooperation, collaboration and coordination are emphasised. Environmental uncertainty generated by resource scarcity and by a lack of perfect knowledge about environmental uctuations prompts organisations to establish relationships to achieve stability, predictability and dependability in their relations with others.

Stability

Adapted for the present study, based on Oliver (1990).

to ASEAN tourism. Table 1 gives a brief explanation of the three preconditions and how they are rooted from or related to the theoretical perspectives. The formation of collaboration in tourism among ASEAN countries must be studied in the context of the nations commitment to moving towards closer cohesion and economic integration (ASEAN, 1997). In other words, one should look into the wider economic cooperation framework in which tourism collaboration exists. ASEAN was rst established in 1967 to maintain peace and stability in the region. Member countries were not drawn to cooperate economically until the 1990s when they moved to protect the region against threats of protectionism from European and North American Free Trade Agreement blocs. Later in the decade, the devastation caused by the Asian Financial Crisis served as a wake up call to national leaders about the importance of cohesion to the regions economic stability and prosperity. From then on, a number of landmark strategic plans and agreements were launched with the long-term goal of establishing a free trade area or a common market in Southeast Asia (Tan, 2003), starting with ASEAN Vision 2020 in 1997, followed by Hanoi
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Plan of Action (HPA) in 1998, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration in 2002 and Bali Concord II in 2003. These agreements are evidence of the nations intention to achieve stability and reciprocity through regional economic cooperation. We, therefore, argue that stability relationships that are established to achieve predictability and dependability under circumstances of environmental uncertainty and reciprocity relationships that are formed for the purpose of pursuing common or mutually benecial goals (Oliver, 1990) are the two main preconditions for the formation of ASEAN economic collaboration. Tourism was identied as one of the specic areas of cooperation within the ASEAN general economic cooperation framework because, clearly, it is a trade activity common to all member countries. In the beginning, when a permanent committee of tourism was formed in 1969, tourism collaboration was there to support the wider economic cooperation project. Until the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s, cooperative efforts such as the ASEAN Tourism Forum, which started in 1981, the establishment of the Tourism Information Centre in 1988 (closed down in 1996) and the Visit ASEAN Campaign, which started in 1991, were rather insignicant and unstructured.
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

ASEAN Tourism Policies Simply put, ASEAN tourism was not driven by an intention to develop or promote regional tourism but by the necessity to form to meet an institutional requirement. Therefore, the immediate precondition for ASEAN tourism is considered necessity (Oliver, 1990). This argument is much supported by the primary data where participants viewed that tourism collaboration was formed for political and diplomatic reasons. Tourism was probably seen as something else that could be used to give substance to the broader political and economic objectives of ASEAN. (Academic) You know we have this vision of ASEAN free trade zone, so that whole idea of the common economy coming together is all part of that and tourism is a only component of that vision. (Singapore government ofcial) It [ASEAN tourism collaboration] is a political agenda. Its regionalism . . . as you see that the world is now more on regionalism. And tourism is one part of the agenda . . . (Thai government ofcial) Figure 1 illustrates that from the absence of any cooperative relationship among Southeast Asian countries to their commitment to economically integrating the region, there were two key preconditions: stability and reciprocity, which can be considered as the indirect preconditions for tourism collaboration. Within the wider economic framework, the collaborative relationship in tourism was formed to support the political economic agenda of ASEAN. Hence, the direct precondition for tourism collaboration is necessity. The authors argue that there is a need to distinguish between indirect and direct preconditions in the case of ASEAN tourism because the collaboration in tourism was formed in the context of a broader collaborative relationship. In other

295 words, there is a set of indirect preconditions that led to the formation of a contextual collaborative relationship (i.e. economic collaboration), and a set of direct preconditions that contributed to the formation of a sectoral collaborative relationship (i.e. tourism collaboration). To relate the ndings to the theories, our study shows that when studying the formation of intergovernmental collaboration, there may be a need to distinguish between indirect and direct preconditions. It also highlights that collaboration such as ASEAN tourism is a complex phenomenon and that sectoral collaborative relationships warrant in-depth study. ASEAN TOURISM POLICY FRAMEWORK FORMULATION To further our understanding in ASEAN tourism, we examined the process of formulating the ASEAN tourism policy framework. The framework here refers to the ASEAN Tourism Agreement signed by the member countries in 2002. The Agreement, which set out seven objectives, remains as the blueprint for todays cooperation. Figure 2 was constructed to illustrate the various stages in the formulation of the policy framework and the factors involved from a point where no signicant collaboration existed to having established an action plan for policy implementation. They are discussed in detail below. ASEAN Tourism Agreement 2002 As previously discussed, ASEAN tourism was rst established to meet an institutional requirement and as a means to support the general economic cooperation framework. Its policies were set in the direction of liberalising intraASEAN trade in services, principles of which were laid out in the 1995 AFAS. Cooperation in tourism among the member countries was

Independent, unrelated SE Asian countries

Stability

Commitment to ASEAN Economic Integration

Necessity

ASEAN Tourism Collaboration

Reciprocity

Figure 1. Indirect and direct preconditions of ASEAN tourism collaboration.


Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

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Insignificant tourism collaboration pre2001 Environmental trigger National level initiation

E. P. Y. Wong, N. Mistilis and L. Dwyer


Stability ASEAN Tourism Agreement 2002: more cohesive relationships and transparent communication. Reciprocity The seven objectives in the Agreement

Rejuvenation of cooperative spirit

Implementation of the action plan by various ASEAN bodies

Decentralized institution Lack of procedural rules and monitoring mechanisms

Bali Concord II 2003; Roadmap for Integration (the action plan) & AFAIPS 2004: more transparent communication.

Figure 2. ASEAN tourism policy framework formulation.

rather insignicant and unstructured until 1998, when the region was striving to recover from the Asian Financial Crisis. The economic importance of tourism was eventually recognised. In that year, a Ministerial Understanding of ASEAN Cooperation in Tourism was signed, followed by the adoption of the HPA. The HPA marked the start of formalised and institutionalised ASEAN cooperation in tourism. Several task forces were established then, including marketing, manpower, tourism investment and cruise tourism. However, the ASEAN Tourism Agreement, the current policy framework, is not the immediate product of AFAS or HPA. The content of the agreement was in fact conceptualised in November 2001 after 9/11 in an ASEAN Summit (ASEAN, 2002a), when global tourism was shattered by terrorism. The impact of terrorism hit the Southeast Asian countries even harder when the condence of travellers was further weakened by the October 2002 Bali bombing incidence. As a result of the attack, governments around the world issued travel advisories against travelling to Indonesia. Such advisories had a spill-over effect on the rest of the region. The November 2002 ASEAN Tourism Agreement can thus be considered a timely measure to address the common threat facing the region; it was an agreement aimed at strengthening the unity among members, enhancing competitiveness and increasing tourist ows.
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Hence, in terms of the process of formulating the ASEAN tourism policy framework, the beginning of the process is an environmental trigger the threat of terrorism and consequently the lack of condence of people travelling to the region, which led to a national level initiation of collaboration. This is a pragmatic, or to some, a reactive approach, where actions are taken only when necessary, in response to threats in the environment. Some scholars regard the pragmatism as part of the ASEAN Way, i.e. the unique set of norms practiced within ASEAN across sectors (Acharya, 2000). These ndings are congruent with the literature, which suggests that exogenous forces in the environment external to a regime (Young, 1982), commonality of interests (Young, 1982), political culture and experiences and learning (Haas and Haas, 1995; Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff, 1996) are factors that may inuence the dynamics within a regime. For ASEAN tourism, the exogenous forces of terrorism elevated the degree of commonality of interests among members (i.e. restoring the tourism industry). The drop in arrival numbers to the region made member states realise they were on the same boat. Such circumstances enhanced the solidarity among them at that point in time. One Indonesian government ofcial said: Bali bombing brought some of us [tourism ministers] together . . . we had to help each other.
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

ASEAN Tourism Policies In terms of political culture, the pragmatic approach adopted by ASEAN helps explain the need for an environmental trigger to drive collaboration. Such style of policy-making and its implications are yet to be fully addressed in the literature. Experiences and learning also took place because with the signing of the Tourism Agreement, the interrelationships among the member nations (on a national level) had become more cohesive and characterised by more transparent communication compared with the pre2001 period. . . . the ASEAN Tourism Agreement formed the basis of our collaboration. Before [the Agreement], we [our efforts] were not very coordinated. (Cambodian government ofcial) The seven objectives Specically, the ASEAN Tourism Agreement set out seven objectives (ASEAN, 2002b): (1) to co-operate in facilitating travel into and within ASEAN; (2) to enhance cooperation in the tourism industry among ASEAN member states in order to improve its efciency and competitiveness; (3) to substantially reduce restrictions to trade in tourism and travel services among ASEAN member states; (4) to establish an integrated network of tourism and travel services in order to maximise the complementary nature of the regions tourist attractions; (5) to enhance the development and promotion of ASEAN as a single tourism destination with world-class standards, facilities and attractions; (6) to enhance mutual assistance in human resource development and strengthen cooperation to develop, upgrade and expand tourism and travel facilities and services in ASEAN; and (7) to create favourable conditions for the public and private sectors to engage more deeply in tourism development, intraASEAN travel and investment in tourism services and facilities.
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297 Upon further examination of the seven objectives in the Agreement, we argue that they can be put into three categories of purposes: (i) to liberalise the ow of money and people from outside and within the region; (ii) to increase the competitiveness of the tourism industry, so as to compete against other regions in the world; and (iii) to strengthen the unity and identity of ASEAN as a region, maintaining its relevance in the international arena, and also ultimately helping counter the competition from other regions. These three purposes are in fact congruent with the two preconditions of ASEAN economic cooperation stability and reciprocity where the member countries have a common goal of attaining higher regional competitiveness, becoming a stronger segment of the global supply chain (ASEAN, 2003). Table 2 shows the categorisation of the seven objectives. Facilitation of travel (objective i), reducing trade restrictions (objective iii) and encouraging tourism investment (objective vii) are objectives set to liberalise the ow of money and people from outside and within the ASEAN region. Improving industry efciency and competitiveness (objective ii) together with enhancing facilities and services (objective vi) aim to increase competitiveness of the regional tourism industry. Finally, establishing an integrated network of services (objective iv) and enhancing promotion (objective v) can be categorised as objectives to strengthen the unity and identity of ASEAN as a region. Bali Concord II and ASEAN Agreement for the Integration of Priority Sectors (AFAIPS) The realisation of these objectives requires an action plan. The so-called Roadmap for Integration of the Tourism Sector was introduced in 2004 following the launch of the Bali Concord II in October 2003. The Bali Concord II can be considered one of the landmark documents of ASEAN as it reafrmed the members commitment to cooperation and declared their aspiration of establishing an ASEAN community. The Concord also created a signicant positive impact on tourism collaboration. For example, tourism was identied as one of the 11 priorities areas by the High Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Cooperation.
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

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Table 2. Categorisation of the ASEAN Tourism Agreement objectives Purpose To liberalise the ow of money and people from outside and within the region Objective in the agreement (Numbering follows that in the original agreement) (i) To co-operate in facilitating travel into and within ASEAN (iii) To substantially reduce restrictions to trade in tourism and travel services among ASEAN member states (vii) To create favourable conditions for the public and private sectors to engage more deeply in tourism development, intra-ASEAN travel and investment in tourism services and facilities (ii) To enhance cooperation in the tourism industry among ASEAN member states in order to improve its efciency and competitiveness (vi) To enhance mutual assistance in human resource development and strengthen cooperation to develop, upgrade and expand tourism and travel facilities and services in ASEAN (iv) To establish an integrated network of tourism and travel services in order to maximise the complementary nature of the regions tourist attractions (v) To enhance the development and promotion of ASEAN as a single tourism destination with world-class standards, facilities and attractions

To increase the competitiveness of the tourism industry, so as to compete against other regions in the world

To strengthen the unity and identity of ASEAN as a region, maintaining its relevance in the international arena, and also ultimately helping counter the competition from other regions

Subsequently, AFAIPS was signed in November 2004. A green lane system was introduced under the ASEAN Pioneer Project Scheme to expedite business project (including tourism projects) approvals in regulatory procedures (Vietnam News, 2004). As a result of the Bali Concord II and AFAIPS, ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) drew up an action plan for tourism in 2004 outlining relatively specic measures, respective implementing body/bodies and a timeline for implementing the measures. These two landmark documents can therefore be considered a sign of rejuvenation of the cooperative spirit as they serve to accelerate the implementation of the objectives set out in the ASEAN Tourism Agreement. The provision of guidelines and directions in these policy documents to strengthen cooperative efforts also contributed to more transparent communication among members.
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Implementation of the action plan Finally, we examined the implementation mechanism of the Tourism Agreement. We began by studying the institutional arrangement. Figure 3 shows only the bodies directly related to tourism collaboration under the purview of AEM, namely the AFTA Council, Cooperation in Investment, ASEAN Tourism Cooperation and Cooperation in Transport. Committees and ofcials meetings are established under each. Bodies such as DirectorsGeneral of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Division of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Senior Labour Ofcials Meeting that are not the responsibility of AEM are not shown. The diagram illustrates that the institutional arrangement is rather decentralised. It is not hard to see that, for tourism collaboration to succeed, coordination
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

ASEAN Tourism Policies


ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) ASEAN Secretariat (as coordinator)

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AFTA Council

Cooperation in Investment

ASEAN Tourism Cooperation

Cooperation in Transport

Coordinating Committee on Services (CCS) & ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standard and Quality (ACCSC)

Coordinating Committee on Investment (CCI)

Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers

Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) Air transport working group

ASEAN National Tourism Organizations Meeting

Various task forces

Figure 3. ASEAN bodies involved in tourism collaboration.

and close monitoring on the part of AEM and the ASEAN Secretariat are crucial. It was also found that when implementing policies, a bottom-up approach is adopted where the operationalisation of the action plan is done by the task forces (there are currently six for tourism: cruise, marketing, communication, investment, manpower and tourism integration; chairmanship on volunteer or upon-request basis). Work is really done in the task force level, and its elevated only to the NTO level for a second level of polishing. And then in the ministerial level its practically a ceremonial option because the value there is once the ministers adopt then . . . it achieves legitimacy of some sort. Thats why the important level here is really in the working level of the task forces. And what we [NTO heads] need to do really is the shepherding of the work of the task forces . . . (Philippine government ofcial) Interviewees also expressed that apart from the guidance provided by the Roadmap for
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Integration and the reporting line described above, there is no formal mechanism or procedures to follow for policy implementation and monitoring. I dont think we follow a very strict regimen of actually implementing initiatives but certainly task forces and committees help people to organise their resources, help set certain time lines so that you set the pace. . . . (Singapore government ofcial) Drawing on the literature, Nesadurai (2001) proposes that an institution should be composed of four components: (i) nature of constitutional documents degree of formality, nature of commitments and form of the agreement; (ii) decision-making procedures e.g. voting style; (iii) modality of cooperation substantive policy targets and procedural rules; and (iv) nature of coordination decision-making, monitoring and enforcement. One more dimension to be added to the list that is equally important for analysing institutionalisation is resources, i.e. leadership, expertise and nancial resources, etc. This is because
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

300 within an institution, states seek to resolve issues and around them, actor expectations converge (Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff, 1996). It was found that in the case of ASEAN tourism, there is a lack of industry-specic procedural rules as well as monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Hence, the modality of cooperation and the nature of coordination have not been clearly dened (Nesadurai, 2001). On the other hand, resources (e.g. rules for members monetary contribution), the nature of constitutional documents (e.g. various framework agreements) and decision-making procedures (e.g. conicts resolution and voting) are mandated by general, non-industry specic ASEAN agreements. Figure 2 illustrates the process of tourism collaboration policy formulation and highlights the factors involved. It indicates that before 2001, tourism collaboration in the region was insignicant. In 2001/02, terrorism and the weakened travellers condence that resulted posed as a common threat to the industry across Southeast Asia and served as a trigger to formulation of the ASEAN Tourism Agreement. Such agreement was initiated by national leaders (as opposed to tourism ministers who have little political power). The interrelationships among member countries can be considered more cohesive and characterised by more transparent communication. There are seven objectives proposed in the 2002 Agreement which are congruent with the two preconditions of ASEAN economic cooperation: stability and reciprocity. A proper action plan for the Agreement was not available until 2004, following a rejuvenation of the cooperative spirit marked by Bali Concord II and AFAIPS. These documents, which provide guidelines and directions to strengthen cooperative efforts, are sign of more transparent communication among members. Finally, the actual implementation of the policies is inuenced by the decentralised institutional arrangement as well as the lack of procedural rules and monitoring mechanism. Relating the ndings to the theories, the empirical data have helped provide a more profound understanding of ASEAN tourism policy formulation than the general institutionalisation literature does. To start with, one must acknowledge the pragmatic, necessityCopyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

E. P. Y. Wong, N. Mistilis and L. Dwyer driven approach to ASEAN policy-making. At this stage, little has been written to address such style of policy-making and its theoretical implication. Second, among the ve dimensions of institutionalisation, it is noted that the modality of cooperation and the nature of coordination in ASEAN tourism are not yet clearly dened. Finally, in terms of inuences on ASEAN tourism collaboration, it is evident that changes in the larger economic and political environment (i.e. terrorism and its effects) have elevated the common interests among members and triggered signicant collaborative efforts, resulting in more cohesive relationships and transparent communication among members. IMPLICATIONS FOR ASEAN TOURISM COLLABORATION Based on the ndings on preconditions and policy framework formulation, two important implications for ASEAN tourism policy-makers can be drawn. First, they should continue to harness the drive for reciprocity and stability, which provided the rationale for the seven objectives in the 2002 Agreement. A collaborative relationship is hard to survive on necessity as a precondition alone. To truly realise the vision of economic integration and sustainable tourism development in the region, continuous efforts are required to establish, promote and protect the common interests of member countries. Having experienced several crises in the past decades, they should understand that tourism is an industry heavily inuenced by the external environment. Collaboration should not be seen as a short-term solution at difcult times but a long-term relationship for developing a sustainable and competitive industry. Second, policy-makers need to strive for a good balance between pragmatism and mechanism. As discussed in the ndings, there is a lack of tourism-specic procedural rules and monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. While the authors acknowledge the pragmatic political culture in ASEAN, successful policy implementation does rely on rules and mechanisms. Policy-makers may consider formulating implementation strategies that incorporate contingency plans. In that way, efciency and
Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr

ASEAN Tourism Policies effectiveness of policy implementation can be improved while preserving the pragmatic culture at the same time. CONCLUSION Given the paucity of studies in ASEAN tourism, this paper serves as a starting point to improve our understanding of the phenomenon. It provides empirical evidence that explains the preconditions that gave rise to ASEAN tourism and the formulation of its policy framework. ASEAN countries compete as well as collaborate. Their collaboration in tourism operates in a specic and complex context. Existing theories cannot always provide a complete explanation. For example, our ndings show the need to distinguish between indirect and direct preconditions for collaboration and that pragmatism in policy formulation is yet to be fully addressed in the literature. The boundaries of existing theories thus need to be expanded. The paper also provides suggestions to policy-makers for improving current collaboration, which in turn enhances the contribution of tourism to regional social and economic development. Further research should focus on evaluating the progress of the collaboration, developing more concrete strategies for improving policy implementation and theorising regional collaboration in specic economic sectors. Future research could also attempt a comparative study with similar supranational organisations, such as the European Union, identifying similarities and differences in terms of indirect and direct preconditions, approach to policy-making and factors involved in the process of formulating the tourism policy framework. After all, the distinct inuences on collaboration in tourism, in contrast to other industry sectors, remain unclear in the literature. As ASEAN members evolve in their political, social and economic development alongside variations in the global economic environment and dramatic events, so too will the nature of their tourism collaboration. The formation and early progression of such collaboration does not easily t any textbook prototype, and this paper has provided the framework through which future development can be observed, analysed and monitored. This
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301 constitutes a signicant step in our understanding of what clearly is a dynamic phenomenon. REFERENCES
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Int. J. Tourism Res. 12, 291302 (2010) DOI: 10.1002/jtr