HCMC urges the launch of a campaign called “Five Nations - One Destination” with the participation of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, aiming for a region with a uniform tourist visa or visa exemption to attract international visitors.
The city has asked the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to submit a proposal to this effect to the Government.
Tourism authorities of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar at international travel exhibitions held in HCMC in the past few years have jointly promoted the image of “Four Nations - One Destination” to gain a competitive edge in tourist attraction. Last year, the four countries lured 14.8 million international tourist arrivals.
Now, they want to partner with Thailand for a joint tourism marketing program for the five countries in the Lower Mekong Basin.
“We need supports to call for participation of all five nations and adopt a visa-free policy to draw foreign tourists,” said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
International travel agencies have stressed the need of a common visa policy to make it easier for tourists to travel across these five countries, but so far a single visa has not been introduced.
However, late last year, Thailand and Cambodia took one step ahead by signing an agreement called ACMECS, framing a common visa policy for visitors from 35 nations and territories including European countries, Australia, the U.S., Hong Kong, Japan, China and South Korea. Tourists can apply for a visa at one of the embassies, consulates and border customs offices in Thailand or Cambodia to go to the other country.
According to the HCMC Tourism Promotion Center, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has agreed with the city on the “Five Nations - One Destination” campaign.
Thailand has given the green light for the joint campaign, expected to be launched at the International Travel Expo in HCMC this September.
This month, a delegation of the HCMC tourism authorities will go to Thailand to discuss the issue.