The SEA Games isn’t the only big thing happening in Southeast Asia this year, as the group of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is celebrating the organisation’s 50 years of existence! Dubbed ASEAN@50, the nations look at how far they have come since joining ASEAN.
The multinational body was formed in the Thai capital of Bangkok on 8 August 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration – also occasionally referred to as the Bangkok Declaration – by founding members Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nearly 17 years later in early 1984, Brunei Darussalam signed on as a member, while Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia came into the picture within a five year period starting 1995.
These 10 member states have taken on the aims and purposes of ASEAN as contained within the Declaration, which addresses shared goals such as accelerating the economic growth, social progress and cultural development, promoting regional stability, collaborating on common interests, sharing expertise and maintaining close ties. In essence, it is a symbiotic arrangement that is mutually beneficial to each country and the region as a whole.
Visit ASEAN@50 As a geo-political bloc, ASEAN is easily the most populous of its kind with more than 600 million people calling themselves citizens of its member states, all of which are contained within a square of Earth measuring some 4,000km north to south and about 5,000km east to west. It is a region of diversity, a kaleidoscope of rich cultures, culinary experiences, natural treasures and breathtaking manmade wonders.
In tandem with the 50-year anniversary, the Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration highlights these with a selection of ASEAN’s best 50 festivals and 50 most unforgettable travel experiences, guiding visitors to travel must-dos in all the member states. Sweetening the adventure are a raft of special offers, tour packages, hotel deals and tourism promotions with strategic partners in the travel industry.
Promising warm ASEAN hospitality, Visit ASEAN@50 covers prominent events throughout the year. In the case of Malaysia, these include the Miri Country Music Fest that was held in February, Independence Day at the end of this month and the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in October. Tourists are also enticed to explore nature on the island of Langkawi, lap up Malaysia’s servings of culture and dive into her waters in Sipadan, amongst others. Check out visitASEAN50.com for more details.