(UPDATED) Here's what you need to know about ASEAN

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017.

ASEAN was formed in a region with a long history of colonization and conflict, and aimed to promote peace, stability, security, and prosperity through greater regional cooperation.

The region spans a total land area of 4,488,839 and has an estimated population of around 628 million as of 2015.

From the 5 founding countries that established the regional organization, ASEAN now has 10 member states:

Year of ASEAN membership: 1984
Capital: Bandar Seri Begawan
Population: 423,000 (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1999
Capital: Phnom Penh
Population: 15.6 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1967
Capital: Jakarta
Population: 257.6 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1997
Capital: Vientiane
Population: 6.8 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1967
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Population: 30.3 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1997
Capital: Naypyidaw
Population: 53.9 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1967
Capital: Manila
Population: 100.7 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1967
Capital: Singapore
Population: 5.6 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1967
Capital: Bangkok
Population: 68 million (2015)

Year of ASEAN membership: 1995
Capital: Hanoi
Population: 93.4 million (2015)

The timeline below highlights milestones in the development of ASEAN.

Borderless community

Despite efforts towards closer integration, ASEAN residents still do not possess the level of borderless travel as their European counterparts in the European Union do. While ASEAN nations don’t require a visa to residents of neighboring countries, there are still restrictions and limitations.

The table below presents the current visa requirements for ASEAN citizens traveling around the region.

(Note: These visa requirements apply to regular passport holders. Requirements may differ for diplomatic and service passport holders.)

The goal of a more borderless ASEAN community is in the works, through the proposals of visa-free travel for all ASEAN citizens, special ASEAN immigration lanes in airports around the region, and a common ASEAN visa for foreign tourists — to boost tourism and business within the region.

Economic gains

According to the World Economic Forum, the travel and tourism industry currently accounts for 12.3% of GDP in ASEAN – or nearly 10% of global GDP.

ASEAN could see between 6 and 10 million more international tourist arrivals by making it easier for travelers to go around the region. This can translate to as much as $12 billion in revenues and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The ASEAN economy is one of the largest in the world, with a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion – the 6th largest economy in the world and the 3rd largest in Asia.

Indonesia is the largest economy among the ASEAN member states, with a GDP of $857.6 million in 2015.

Meanwhile, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017, Singapore ranked 2nd in the list.


with reports from Micaela Romulo and Katerina Francisco/

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