Southeast Asian countries to launch joint travel portal

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The Independent Travel

A new high-tech travel website aimed at supporting tourism to Southeast Asia is set to launch on January 25, in the hope of capturing some of the summer booking rush. will allow travelers to book multi-destination trips within any of the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The site will collate offers from dozens of suppliers across ASEAN territories, before displaying results integrated into an interactive map and trip planner. It will offer feature articles, events, and points-of-interest, as well as a forum for users. It targets international tourists, focusing particularly on "adventurous culture seekers, special-interest travelers, and cruise enthusiasts".

Uniquely, the project is part funded by the United States. The ASEAN Tourism Association collaborated with the US-funded ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement Project and search engine Wega to produce the site, which is part of a broader campaign designed to boost travel to Southeast Asia.

The first week of 2010 has seen several redesigns for popular web travel agencies as online retailers scrabble to compete for the lucrative summer holiday market. Outdoors travel guide has added a new interactive trek finder, allowing users to upload photos or plan hiking expeditions on trails in the US or Canada. New outdoor guides have also been added for destinations such as Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, while new photo galleries showcase global beauty hotspots such as the Silk Route between Asia and the Middle East or Tasmania's Overland Track.

Online booking giant also revealed its new logo and tagline January 6, telling customers "Where you book matters." The change is part of a brand campaign launched over the holidays, which includes the new tagline, a redesigned brand logo, and an integrated advertising campaign initially featuring TV, print, outdoor, and online executions.