The 2013 International Travel Expo (ITE HCMC 2013) kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City on September 11, carrying the message “Five Countries-One destination.”

The three-day exhibition aims to facilitate tourism cooperation between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

In his opening remarks at the event, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Anh Tuan said as the largest and most professional tourism programme, the expo not only promotes the tourism industry in the Mekong Sub-region but creates an opportunity for businesses to expand the market.

On the fringes of the event, there will be an array of activities such as the first meeting of the five countries’ tourism ministers in the Ayeyawadi-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the second conference for mayors of tourism cities in the lower Mekong basin region and a conference on Vietnam-Russia tourism cooperation and development.

Several workshops to introduce potential tourism markets such as Germany and India, give guidelines for the implementation of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement on Tourism Professionals. Another for consumers is also scheduled to take place.

At the opening ceremony, the organising board presented awards to the most outstanding units operating in the tourism sector.

Vietnam’s national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, together with Thai Airways, Lao Airlines and Cambodia Angkor Air were honoured on this occasion.

The event is co-organised by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.-VNA