Tourism ministers of the five countries under the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), including Vietnam, have agreed to cooperate more fully on responsible tourism, tourism marketing activities, and creation of more diverse tourism products.
The meeting to promote regional travel
The ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam spoke on Thursday (September 7) at the 3rd Meeting of Tourism Ministers of countries under ACMECS in HCM City.
Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, noted that last year, the number of international tourist arrivals in ACMECS countries reached 54.75 million, an increase of 5.29 per cent compared to the figure of 2015,
The number of intra-regional tourists was 8.95 million, accounting for 16.35 per cent of the total number of international tourists, a year-on-year increase of 5.04 per cent compared to 2015.
In October last year in Hanoi, the tourism ministers adopted the Declaration of the 7th ACMECS Summit, while a Plan of Action on ACMECS Tourism Cooperation 2016-2018 was agreed in 2015.
Thien said that joint tourism promotion and marketing activities among the five countries include participation in international tourism events, travel fairs and exhibitions; and support from each country for road shows to promote intra-regional travel and organisation of familiarisation trips (FAM Trips) with travel agencies, investors and media agencies.
At the meeting, the ministers emphasised the significance of tourism product linkages promoted by ACMECS countries, particularly thematic multi-country tour programmes, including the Southern Coastal Corridor (Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam); Northern Heritage Trail (Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam); Mekong Discovery Trail (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam); Cruising the Mekong Delta; The Middle Path (Myanmar and Thailand); Golden Triangle Mekong River Cruising (Laos and Thailand); Route 8 (Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam); and the East–West Corridor (Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam).
Many activities have been held to develop specific tour programmes, including the first East-West Corridor Tourism Cooperation Meeting, and the first and second Meeting of the Southern Coastal Corridor, with technical tours in all provinces of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam along the Corridor.
The Plan of Action on tourism cooperation from 2016 to 2018 will continue to emphasise connections among routes and corridors, as well as marketing activities and sustainable tourism.
The Plan also calls for promotion of major international forums and events in the region, particularly Cambodia Travel Mart 2017, Visit Laos Year 2018, ATF Thailand 2018 and ATF Vietnam 2019.
The ministers said that ACMECS tourism cooperation in the “Five countries-One Destination” programme has been useful as it “brands the unique characteristics of the region”.
They urged the private sector to become more deeply involved in tourism public-private partnerships, and said that new internet-based applications for information exchange and marketing should be used more frequently.
22 million tourists
On the same day, the 4th Meeting of Tourism Ministers of four countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV), met and discussed travel facilitation, tourism-capacity building, involvement of the private sector and local communities, tourism product development, and tourism safety.
Last year, the number of international tourist arrivals in CLMV countries totalled 22.16 million while the number of intra-regional tourists was 2.79 million, accounting for 12.6 per cent of the total number of international tourists.
Visa procedures have been increasingly simplified, more direct flights connecting regional destinations have opened, and travel by land among regional destinations has become more convenient, according to the ministers from the four countries.
The CLMV promotes the East-West Corridor, Northeastern Corridor, Southern Coastal Corridor, and Southern Corridor as joint tourism products.
The ministers stressed that CLMV tourism cooperation should be more outcome- and action-oriented, and agreed that it was necessary to enhance coordination with other relevant sub-regional cooperation frameworks.
Thailand will host the 4th Meeting of ACMECS Tourism Ministers in 2019 and provide a venue and facilitation for the 5th Meeting of CLMV Tourism Ministers.
"For more than a decade, tourism cooperation among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam within the framework of ACMECS, including the ACMECS Tourism Cooperation Plan, has achieved significant economic results," said Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee.
In the spirit of the “Five Countries - One Destination,” Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have developed tourism products, inter-connected tourism spots and regions, and invested in and upgraded tourism technical infrastructure, while preserving traditional cultural values and protecting the environment, Phong added.
HCM City, which is one of the hubs for economic activities and culture, takes pride in the annual increase of international visitors of over 10 per cent during the 2006-16 period, Phong said.
During this period, the number of foreign visitors to the city accounted for 56 per cent of the total number of international tourists to Vietnam. Tourism revenue in the city rose by 30 per cent per annum, making up 43 per cent of the total national revenue from tourism.
Last year, the city welcomed 5.2 million international visitors. The city’s tourism sector targets more than 10 million foreign tourists this year.
In the long run, the city is set to turn tourism into a leading-edge economic sector by 2020, creating momentum for socio-economic development among all sectors.
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