Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand have agreed to work together for a double-digit increase in the number of foreign tourists by 2015 under the theme “Five Countries – One Destination”.

The goal is part of a joint statement issued at the first meeting of tourism ministers of the five countries in the Ayeyawadi – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) in Ho Chi Minh City on September 11.

The ACMECS group aims to serve 50 million international visitors in 2015, including 10 million intra-regional tourists.

The ministers also agreed to build a new tourism corridor along Bagan, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Siem Reap, Da Nang, and Hue in line with an agreement reached at the 5th ACMECS Summit in Laos in March this year.

The meeting went through tourism cooperation under the Vientiane Declaration and the ACMECS action programme adopted at the 5th ACMECS Summit.

In 2012, ACMECS countries welcomed over 37 million international arrivals, a year-on-year increase of 18 percent, 6 million of which from within the region.

The countries have actively promoted their tourism by joining international tourism fairs and building an ACMECS tourism website. Thailand and Cambodia have piloted a common visa scheme to facilitate travelling between the countries. Member countries have also assisted each other in human resource training and sharing of experience.

The second meeting of ACMECS tourism ministers is slated for 2015 in Myanmar.-VNA