Ho Chi Minh City
(AsiaNews / Agencies) - Joint cooperation in the tourism sector and a plan to
boost its growth in 2013-2015 by facilitating international and domestic travel
with a visa reform. This
is the initiative launched by Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Vientiane Naypyidaw, in a
recent conference attended by tourism ministers of the Association of
South-East Asia. Within
the next three years Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) will strengthen
cooperation to attract a total of 25 million people from all over the world,
with at least four million "interchangeable visitors" who will cross the
borders between the various countries.
A conference held in Ho Chi Minh City was led by Hoang Tuan Anh, Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism and attended by Bosengkham Vonhdara, Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Thong Khon, Cambodian Minister of Tourism and Thet Oo, Ambassador Burmese in Vietnam. The focus of the meeting was a review of the implementation of the Joint Ministerial Decree of 2010 on cooperation in the tourism sector in the four countries (CLMV Tourism Co-operation).
In a joint statement, the ministers stressed the recently recorded "massive growth" in tourism, despite the global economic crisis and other problems that plague the region for some time, including natural disasters and ethnic-religious conflicts. The Vietnamese delegate said that "last year, CLMV has welcomed over 12.3 million visitors, an increase of 14.5% compared to 2010." And the exchange of visitors between the four countries, Tuan Anh adds, "has reached 2.1 million," or "17% of total foreign visitors."
The plan signed by the three governments will cover the period 2013-2015 and provides enhanced exchange of information, development of products and initiatives for high quality tourism in the Indo-Chinese region and joint efforts to attract "more investment" in the industry. Added to this is the cooperation with third parties, including foreign nations and international organizations. The philosophy behind the project is to issue a single tourist visa for the five countries of the lower Mekong. Thailand already has tourism agreements with Cambodia.
The ministers further emphasized the importance of closer cooperation with international entities already launched by ASEAN, an association that brings together 10 nations of Southeast Asia, including ASEAN-Japan and ASEAN-South Korea in the context of interest shown by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has invested capital for the construction of infrastructure, public services, human resources and eco-friendly projects.