At a conference aimed at promoting tourism in the region, ministers of tourism from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) agreed yesterday ( Sep 14) 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, Viet Nam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism with the participation of many international media units from Russia, Egypt, Australia, Sweden, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar …
The ministers reviewed the implementation of the 2010 Ministerial Joint Statement on CLMV Tourism Co-operation to develop tourism in the four countries.
These targets were mentioned at a press briefing held yesterday following the first meeting of the CLMV Tourism Ministers in HCMCity.
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 Viet Nam.
Minster Tuan Anh told the press that the 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,” he said.
Tourism agencies of the four countries have since actively participated in the activities of the InternationalTravelExpoHCMCity held annually to promote the “Four Countries – One Destination (4CODE)” concept, he said.
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 ministers of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar appreciated the initiative taken by Viet Nam in making a documentary film introducing 4CODE in 2010.
The national tourism agencies and tourism associations of CLMV had also co-operated well with each other in organizing the Tourism Alliance Awards and will increase cooperation with international partners such as the ASEAN – Japan (AJC), the ASEAN-Korea (AKC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) …
They noted that Viet Nam had successfully held the 4CODE Tourism Investment Conference in September 2011.
The four countries have also supported each other in organizing several regional international events including the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Cambodia and Laos. The forum seeks to exploit the tourism potentials of the region as a whole.
The ministers noted and appreciated the support of international countries and organizations like ASEANJapanCenter and ASEANSouth KoreaCenter in training human resources and promoting CLMV destinations in Japan and South Korea.
The contribution of Asian Development Bank, which has invested in tourism infrastructure, public tourism, and developing human resources through the Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Tourism Development Project, was especially appreciated, Mr Hoang Tuan Anh said.
At the press conference, the four ministers signed the CLMV Tourism Joint Co-operation Plan for 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 co-operation with the third parties including countries and international organizations.
The ministers emphasized the need for human resources training and development, saying it would determine the quality of tourism products and services in the sub-region.
They also agreed to hold the Tourism Ministerial Conference every year with the four nations taking turns to host it. Cambodia would be the next host, they said.
The Tourism Ministerial Conference was held under the auspices of the International Travel Expo HCM City 2012, which closes today.