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“Five Countries, One Destination”: Five Nations Jointly Market Their Tourism Industry

Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to jointly market themselves as “Five Countries, One Destination” in a move to bring more tourists to the region and integrate their tourism industries.

Director General of the Tourism Development Department, Mr Soun Manivong, told Vientiane Times yesterday that the programme will bring considerable profits to Laos as it’s located in the centre of the five countries.

The move will contribute to reinforcing the tourism campaign in Laos, allowing international tourists to know more about Laos and its incredible tourism sites through the united marketing campaign by member countries.

The programme was agreed at the third CLMV Tourism Ministerial Meeting and the second Ayeyarwaddy-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Strategy (ACMECS) Tourism Ministerial Meeting that was held in Myanmar from July 28-29.

The “Five Countries, One Destination” travel programme will be implemented by 2016 which will bring tourists to Bagan (Myanmar), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Luang Prabang (Laos), Siem Reap (Cambodia) and Hue (Vietnam).

Addressing the meeting, Vice President of Myanmar Nyan Tun said “Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will market the region as a single destination by providing easy access for visas and improving transportation networks.”

This includes promotion of cross-border travel within the ACMECS countries and organisation of joint tourism marketing and promotional activities in order to realise the campaign’s concept of “Five Countries, One Destination”.

Mr Soun said the five countries highlighted the need to promote green and responsible tourism but at the beginning they will be keen to connect air transportation between their important towns which are considered hotspots for international tourists.

Director of Luang Prabang Holiday Travel Mr Mongkhon Vongsam-ang commented that it’s good that the five nations band together to launch a united marketing strategy which will allow the private sector to strengthen their cooperation and organise tours to visit the respective neighbouring countries.

Mr Mongkhon reiterated the significance of air connectivity between the five countries so that tourists can fly directly from one country to the other.

Concerning the single visa, the five countries have already agreed in principle on a single visa under the umbrella of ACMECS.

It was initiated in 2005, under the concept known as “Five Countries, One Destination” and is still in a preparatory stage. However, Thailand and Cambodia jointly introduced the single visa scheme in late 2012, as a pilot project.

But the single visa remained a barrier to promoting convenient travel and as long as security issues were high on the agenda it was unlikely to change.

International tourist arrivals in GMS countries are increasing by more than 12 percent per year and has generated close to US$50 billion (about 402,252 billion kip) in receipts in 2013.

In Laos, the tourist arrival in 2014 reached over 4.15 million people, an increase of about 10 percent compared to 2013. The remarkable increase in the number of tourists to Laos was attributed to those from China, the Republic of Korea and other Asean nations.

Source: Vientiane Times