A programme to develop budget hotels throughout Asean is being drawn up to spur tourism within the region by making it more affordable to the middle income families in Asean states.
The programme, discussed at a meeting between the Asean Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and Asean Economic Ministers and at related meetings here, is to be undertaken in three ways.
One is to establish a network to link private sector budget hotel entrepreneurs in Asean; second, to get them to create partnerships or a consortium to create a region-wide chain of budget hotels under a single brand; and third, encourage Asean entrepreneurs with capability to set up budget hotels under their own brands.
At an interview here, ABAC immediate past president Datuk Syed Amin Aljeffri said the time has come to place more emphasis on intra-Asean tourism, and the council has identified budget hotels as an important initiative in bringing about a successful Asean-style business programme.
Another aspect, he said, is growing the low-cost air services in the region to help drive intra-Asean tourism.
"We want the cost of travel within the region not to be burdensome for people whose income level is not high." he said.
"We must encourage them to travel at a cost they can afford, especially in terms of lodging."
On the plan for a network of private sector budget hotel entrepreneurs, Syed Amin said it is targeted to be established within 12 months.
He also disclosed that the Asean Business Awards will be introduced this year to make the rest of the world take notice of the region's capable companies.
According to him, 60 companies in the Asean member states are vying for the awards, including 14 from Malaysia.
There are four categories for this year's awards, to be presented on Nov 18 in conjunction with the Asean Investment and Business Summit in Singapore.
Professional business services firm Ernst & Young will supervise the awards mnagement, he added.