HO CHI MINH CITY- At a conference aimed at promoting tourism in the region, ministers of tourism from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) agreed that the four countries will work together to attract 25 million international visitors to the region from 2013 to 2015, with at least four million "exchange visitors".
The conference was presided over by Hoang Tuan Anh, Vietnam's Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Attending the conference were Bosengkham Vonhdara, Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Thong Khon, Cambodian Minister of Tourism, and Thet Oo, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Vietnam. The ministers reviewed the implementation of the 2010 Ministerial Joint Statement on CLMV Tourism Co-operation to develop tourism in the four countries.
Ministers were pleased with the "impressive development" of tourism in all the four countries in recent times despite the global economic crisis and other problems including natural calamities and conflicts in several areas. "Last year, CLMV welcomed over 12.3 million international visitors, a growth of 14.5 per cent in comparison with 2010. Of them, exchange visitors among the four countries reached 2.1 million, accounting for 17 per cent of the total number of international visitors," Minister Tuan Anh said.
The four ministers signed the CLMV Tourism Joint Cooperation Plan covering the 2013-15 period. The new plan specifies increased information exchange among the four countries as well as the development of joint tourism products that are of high quality. It also envisages joint efforts in attracting more investment into the tourism sector as well as acting together in promoting cooperation with the third parties including countries and international organizations.
In order to reach the goal, the four countries will also consider the issuance of a single tourist visa for five countries in the Mekong sub-region including Thailand, after assessing the effectiveness of one planned by Thailand and Cambodia.
The national tourism agencies and tourism associations of CLMV cooperate already well with each other in organizing the Tourism Alliance Awards and will also increase cooperation with international partners such as the ASEAN - Japan (AJC), the ASEAN-Korea (AKC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The contribution of Asian Development Bank, which has invested in tourism infrastructure, public tourism, and developing human resources through the Greater Mekong Sub region Sustainable Tourism Development Project, was especially appreciated, Mr Hoang Tuan Anh said.