A junk navigates the sea of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. (Photo vietnamtourismhanoi.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Prime Minister has approved a proposal for Vietnam to host the 2019 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF).

The PM ordered the Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism to start working on a detailed plan in preparation of the ATF, which is considered one of the most important events to promote tourism co-operation among the bloc’s member states.

Highlights of the ATF will include meetings among the ASEAN tourism ministers, followed by meetings between the ministers and tourism representatives from China, Japan, India, Russia and the Republic of Korea. The event will also feature ATF Travex (Travel Exchange) – the longest-running annual ASEAN leisure travel trade event showcasing the largest collection of ASEAN tourism sellers.

The regional gathering will also feature a number of discussions on how to develop the bloc’s tourism.

The Government of Vietnam acknowledged that hosting the ATF is an opportunity to promote tourism and introduce the people and landscapes of Vietnam to the international community. It is also the country’s responsibility as an ASEAN member to contribute to greater integration of the bloc, especially in light of the ASEAN Economic Community, which was officially founded last year.

It will also offer an opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism companies to bolster business links and attract even more foreign investment for the country’s tourism sector.

The 2019 ATF will mark the 39th anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia.-VNA