500 businesses from more than 30 countries and territories are participating in the 2012 International Travel Expo (ITE HCMC), which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on September 12.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Hong said the event, the largest professional one, is an opportunity for travel and tourism businesses from the participating countries to seek partners and establish long-term cooperation, contributing to sustainable tourism development in the region and the world.

Themed “Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia-Myanmar, Four Countries, One Destination”, the event comprises a series of new activities for the four countries such as the first Meeting of their Tourism Ministers, a meeting for senior tourism officials and a conference on tourism market in four Lower Mekong cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Vientiane and Yangon.

A highlight of the expo is the International Hosted Buyer Programme, which aims to ce ment the implementation of global and regional integration in advancing both inbound and outbound market interests of the show players, attracting 180 key global buyers from 33 major markets that include ASEAN countries, Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, North America, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Organised for the first time in 2005, ITE HCMC is designed to promote not only the tourism market within the region but also major tourist destinations around the world.-VNA