Tourism officials from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar discussed solutions for luring tourists to their region and integrate their tourist industry as they met in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.
The five countries are member of a political, economic, and cultural bloc known as ACMECS and have agreed to turn the region into an attractive destination for global vacationers under a campaign called “Five Countries, One Destination.”
The tourism officials suggested during the meeting that more policies be issued to allow tourists to travel between the five countries so that transnational tour packages can be offered.
Following the discussion, Vietnam reached bilateral tourism cooperation agreements with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, in which they agree to continue working to attract tourists to each other as well as visitors from other markets.
In the cooperation agreement signed with Cambodia, Vietnam pledges to offer longer training courses to Cambodian travel personnel, whereas Phnom Penh promises to support Vietnamese businesses in opening restaurants, hotels or river tours in the country.
Last year Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar collectively welcomed 19.6 million international tourists, up 11.4 percent from 2013. The total tourist arrivals of the ACMECS countries in 2014 were 44 million.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have indeed taken action to facilitate transnational travel.
On Wednesday, transport authorities from the three countries held a ceremony to officially open the pair of international border gates at Hoa Lu-Trapeang Sre to traffic.
The Hoa Lu border gate is located in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Phuoc, and Trapeang Sre in the Cambodian province of Kratie.
Vehicles of the three countries are now allowed to go through the Hoa Lu-Trapeang Sre border gates to each other’s territory instead of waiting for transshipment, which will thus help reduce transport cost and time, and boost the three neighbors’ trade and tourism.
The ACMECS discussion was one of the first activities to take place during the annual 11th International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC 2015), which kicked off Thursday.
The three-day event is organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ho Chi Minh City administration and its Department of Tourism, and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
The expo is expected to see 250 pavilions run by 350 international and regional buyers from 21 countries and territories, according to the organizers.