ACMECS Ministers discuss responsible tourism in HCM City hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: Internet)
Ho Chi Minh City (VNA) –Responsible tourism was the focus of an ACMECS (Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy) forum took place in Ho Chi Minh City on September 8 in the framework of the 2016 International Travel Expo HCM City.

Tourism ministers from ACMECS member nations – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - were joined by representatives from the tourism industry, international and social organisations and experts in charting out directions to develop environmentally-friendly tourism.

Addressing the forum, Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien highlighted the growth of the tourism industry in ACMECS countries, with 52 million foreign visitors and 8.8 million intra-bloc travelers in 2015, increases of 7 and 8 percent, respectively.

He stressed that ACMECS countries have realised that sustainable tourism is the inevitable trend which will lay a firm foundation for achieving the goal of “Five countries-One destination.”

The question now is to develop suitable mechanisms and policies in this direction, the minister said.

Walter Jamieson, a senior expert at the World Tourism Organisation and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism-ASEAN, noted that without strict and suitable management, tourism activities will put negative impacts on the natural environment.

He said responsible tourism should be based on community’s interests and brings benefit to all involved persons.

The expert suggested that besides statistics on the number of visitors, data should be compiled on poor households benefiting from tourism and the protection of local forests, as well as the treatment of waste and the use of science-technology to serve tourism, which all contribute to responsible tourism.

The forum adopted an ACMECS Ministers’ statement on responsible tourism, which reiterates the ACMECS tourism industry’s commitment to responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balance tourism development.

The countries will intensify the sharing of information and experience in the field, and promote private-public cooperation with the participation of international and non-governmental organisations, the statement said.-VNA