CLMV bloc inks tourism pact, mulls over single tourist visa

TOURISM ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) signed an agreement last week pledging to work together to attract 25 million international visitors to the four countries by 2015, and to consider the possibility of implementing a single tourist visa.

During the CLMV Tourism Ministers’ Meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 14, tourism ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam signed the Joint Plan on Tourism Cooperation 2013-2015.

Focused on ramping up joint tourism efforts, the pact laid out a roadmap to boost information exchange between the four countries, develop high-quality tourism products, attract investments to the tourism market and form partnerships with other nations and international organisations.

A significant goal in the agreement was the introduction of a joint target to bring in some 25 million international visitors to the four countries by 2015, of which four million are to be intra-country travellers.

To further promote the idea of ‘four countries, one destination’, the CLMV bloc is also considering combining tourist visas for international travellers to make country hopping easier, with Thailand likely to be the fifth partner in this scheme.

Any action on this issue however, is only likely to take place after all five countries have assessed the effectiveness of the joint tourist visa introduced by Thailand and Cambodia earlier this year (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 16, 2012).

The number of international tourists to CLMV countries has been on the rise over the last few years. The four countries jointly received more than 12.3 million visitors in 2011, a jump of 14.5 per cent year-on-year. Of that figure, 17 per cent were comprised of travellers from within CLMV.

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