Vietnam along with members of a regional economic cooperation pact on Thursday issued a joint statement on responsible tourism after its tourism ministers met at a forum held in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tourism ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam on Thursday gathered in Ho Chi Minh City for a forum focused on sustainable tourism among members of economic cooperation pact ACMECS.
ACMECS, or Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, is a five-member political, economic, and cultural organization initiated in 2003 by former Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who raised the idea to bridge the economic gap among group members and to promote prosperity in the sub-region in a sustainable manner.
The organization was initially founded by four countries, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, with Vietnam joining a year later to become the group’s fifth and latest member.
This year’s ACMECS Ministerial Forum was held in Ho Chi Minh City as part of the city’s 2016 International Travel Expo, which opened the same morning.
Speaking at the forum, Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien asserted the importance of available policies and mechanisms to ensure the responsible development of tourist industries towards sustainable tourism.
Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said in the forum that tourism was the country’s leading economic sector, with its tourism products constantly getting updates to attract new visitors as well as appeal to re-visiting tourists.
“Our goal is not an increase in the number of tourists but in the quality of what we have to offer,” the Thai minister said.
Ministers at the forum agreed that a global code of conduct on tourism ethics was an effective tool for laying out the pathway for the development of a fair, responsible, and sustainable tourist industry, which would in turn help preserve a country’s natural environment and other socio-cultural values of individuals, communities, and nations.
On the basis of assembling ideas raised during the forum, including those from representatives of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), ACMECS ministers also issued a joint statement on responsible tourism.
According to the joint statement, one of the fundamental goals of tourism was to promote eco-friendly and responsible tourism within ACMECS member nations.
The statement also underscored the importance of a strong regional bond to facilitate the ease of movement within the pact and to other countries, improve the group’s appeal as a single tourist destination, enhance cultural exchange, and eradicate poverty through economic advancement.
The ministers also announced the establishment of seven working groups who will deal with seven categories of cooperation within the group, which are commerce – investment, healthcare, human resources development, industry – energy, tourism, transportation, and agriculture.
The 12th International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC 2016) opened Thursday morning at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC) in District 7.
Assembling 270 booths over a total area of 2,423 square meters, the expo showcases a wide variety of tourism products with favorable discounts on tour packages offered for visitors.
The expo, held annually since 2005 by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, will run for three days until Saturday, September 10.