Vietnam’s tourism joins Mekong Tourism Forum
Update: May 07, 2010
Experts of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) left the country for the 2010 Mekong Tourism Forum which will take place in Siem Reap, Cambodia on May 7 and 8, 2010. According to the Department of Travel under VNAT, the experts will discuss with regional colleagues ways to develop products and infrastructure systems to improve tourism in the region.

The Mekong Tourism Forum provides a cooperative platform for stakeholders in the tourism industry to discuss the development, marketing and promotion of travel to, from and within the Greater Mekong Sub region. The region’s tourism aims to develop the Greater Mekong Sub region as a single tourist destination.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association organized the first forum in 1996 and led it for ten consecutive years. This year, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office is reviving the forum.

Under the theme New Roads, New Opportunities, the forum is attracting business and government officials to assess the latest tourism developments and investment opportunities along the regional road networks linking Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.

In a statement, the organizer said new areas with limited or no tourism were opening up along the southern coastal road from Bangkok to HCMC, the central east-west route linking Northeast Thailand to southern Laos and Hue in central Vietnam, and the north-south Kunming-Bangkok road through northern Laos.

“At the Mekong Tourism Forum we will discuss investment prospects and hear from tourism operators who are already taking advantage of opportunities along the new overland corridors,” Mason Florence, executive director of the Bangkok-based Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, said in the statement.

In the forum, government speakers will also update the audience on visa regulations, border crossing changes, airport developments, and new policies and incentives for the tourism sector.

VNAT said that like other countries in the region, Vietnam’s tourism was receiving good support from the Asian Development Bank to develop infrastructure at some border gates in the Mekong Delta.

According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Thailand and Vietnam are receiving more international travelers than Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Last year, Thailand received 14.1 million visitors, down 3% year-on-year. Vietnam had nearly 3.8 million, down 11%, Cambodia nearly 2.05 million, up 2%, Laos 862,000 visitors, down 3%, and Myanmar 243,000 visitors, up 26%.