Tourism ministers from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have agreed to market the region internationally as a single tourist destination in a joint declaration signed Oct 5 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The three-country/one-destination policy will help boost private and public investment in the countries’ tourism sectors, Cambodia’s Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Monday. “This is within an Asean framework to promote tourism in the region,” he added.
Cooperation will extend to developing common tourism products, and sharing expertise on tourism staff training, Thong Khon said.
In addition, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam will work on upgrading tourism-related infrastructure, improving international border checkpoints, and opening more air routes linking the three countries’ most popular destinations, he said.
The tourism ministers, who met during an international tourism exhibition held Oct 5 and 6 in Ho Chi Minh City, also discussed the possibility of a visa-free agreement between the three countries, Thong Khon said.
Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said that the declaration’s goals included providing tourists easy access between the countries.
He added that Vietnam and Cambodia would look closely at the visa issue. “The income revenue for both countries would increase if the volume of tourists increased,” he said.
Cambodian Hotel Association President Philip Setkao said the policy will be beneficial to all, “but only if it is put into practice.”
Roads and waterways connecting the countries are in dire need of upgrading, in particular between Cambodia and Laos, Setkao said.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said that input from the private sector will be crucial if the policy is to be promoted effectively.
Tourism officials from the three countries plan to meet in Cambodia in the coming months, Laotian Tourism Minister for Somphong Mongkhonvilay said according to an Oct 6, Vientiane Times story on the newspaper’s Web site.
“My country will then invite all officials to Laos for further discussions,” he was quoted in the story. “We will try our best to materialize what has been agreed.”