JAKARTA, 9 February 20231 Indonesia has been appointed to lead the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Task Force (ATCAF) according to the latest news from the ASEAN secretariat.

The scheme is expected to open up channels for business
travel and commerce between ASEAN nations and is supposed to be up and running
by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

During the 24th Tourism Ministers meeting hosted by Phnom
Penh last week, ASEAN’s 10 tourism ministers endorsed the appointment of
Indonesia to lead the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Task Force
(ATCAF). 

In its new leadership role, Indonesia will be tasked with
frameworks and operating procedures for the new travel arrangements.

The initiative has been welcomed by all ASEAN members and
has the backing of secretary-general Dato Lim Jock Hoi, according to the
official statement.

Speed is now the essence, and the Indonesian President Joko
Widodo underscored the urgency saying the ATCAF had to “move quickly in
setting up temporary fast lanes and devise all the necessary guidelines for
health protocols. The people cannot wait any longer. They want to see our
region revive.”

The scheme will open up channels for business travel and commerce initially but in its presentation to the ministers last week ASEANTA, that represents the travel industry’s private sector in the region, said success depended on extending the corridors to include leisure travel. 

ASEAN is made up of 10 Member Countries: Thailand,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
and Myanmar.