|Tourists at Phong Dien floating market in the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho. Five countries in the Mekong sub-region have proposed a single visa scheme and other measures to facilitate travel for tourists in the area. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
HCM CITY (VNS) — The tourism ministers of five countries in the Mekong sub-region have proposed a single visa scheme and other measures to facilitate travel for tourists in the area.
The scheme was discussed among leaders from HCM City, Phnom Penh, Vientiane and Yangon and senior tourism officials of the five countries yesterday at the Ministerial Retreat Meeting on ACMECS Tourism Co-operation.
As part of the 10th International Travel Expo HCM City (ITE HCMC), the meeting reviewed achievements and sought solutions to difficulties in promoting the "Five Countries-One Destination" programme.
The mayors and ministers said that the Single Visa Scheme needed to be expanded. Only Cambodia and Thailand use a single visa for the five countries in the sub-region.
A breakthrough was needed, they said, in linkages of tourism products and travel facilitation among the five countries so that co-operation in the sub-region could become more practical.
The tourism ministers and mayors of the four cities agreed that the national tourism organisations of the five countries of ACMECS group (Ayeyawady- Chao Phraya- Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy) had been successful in promoting international tourism fairs and coordinating surveys of river-tourism products.
The countries had also worked together to organise familiarisation (FAM) trips for tourism businesses and media, as well as meetings and workshops to introduce tourism markets.
The ministers also noted that low-cost airlines continued to expand with more routes and increased frequency in the region.
In a related matter, dozens of cruise ships with colourful lights joined a parade on Sai Gon River at the Lighting Cruises Festival held on Tuesday night.
The event with the theme "Vibrant HCM City," the first of its kind held in the city, attracted more 200 domestic and international travel agents and leaders in the tourism sector from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Parading ships carried demonstrations of typical tourist attractions in HCM City, which has been developing waterborne tourist activities.
The event was part of the celebration of the 10th year anniversary of the International Travel Expo HCM City (ITE HCMC) that opened yesterday.
The expo themed "Five countries- One destination" aims to promote international cooperation in tourism among the five nations in the Mekong sub-region.
Nearly 100 outbound travel agents from five nations in the Mekong sub-region and 200 travel agents from 18 countries and territories are participating in expo.
The expo also features destinations and tourism products of 28 cities and provinces across the country.
A series of seminars to introduce promising tourist markets, including Japan, South Korea and countries with Islam as a major religion, will also be held.
The expo will run until September 13 at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in HCM City's District 7. — VNS