Tourism growth should be viewed as a “win-win game” for the entire lower Mekong Sub-region, speakers at an international tourism summit in Ho CM City said on September 11.

Top officials from five ASEAN cities - HCM City , Bangkok , Vientiane , Phnom Penh and Yangon - gathered at the second Lower Mekong Tourism Cities Mayors Summit 2013, which was part of the ninth International Travel Expo HCM City 2013.

The summit assessed the implementation of the joint statement signed during the first summit last year.
In addition, participants looked at ways to improve tourism cooperation among cities in the lower Mekong sub-region.

Addressing the summit, Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the event intended to promote a sustainable tourism development strategy for the region.

It gave a chance for participating cities to exchange experiences on how to improve tourism linkages and training programmes for human resources.

Tourism promotions that uphold cultural values of each city or country were also discussed.

The summit this year saw the participation of a new member – Bangkok . Thailand has extensive experience in tourism development and has a leading position in attracting foreign tourists.

Sukhumbhand Raribatra, governor of Bangkok, called for regional cooperation in tourism via practical strategies, saying each of the participating cities should see tourism growth of the region as a “win –win” game from which each city could benefit.

An official from Myanmar , U Kyaw Soe, hoped that after the summit more people would visit Myanmar to learn about the significant changes that have occurred in his country in recent years.

Other officials from Laos and Cambodia presented reports about their cities’ tourism situations and expressed their determination to cooperate with other cities and countries.

All the mayors from the five cities agree with the general review and results achieved from the first mayoral conference held last year in HCM City.

They also agreed to organise a Tourism Youth Ambassador programme in the Lower Mekong sub-region to improve exchanges and develop a regional youth tourism market.

The leader also said guidance should be provided to the cities’ tourism bodies to establish better communication channels to coordinate, research and develop a system of inter-regional tourism products based on advantages and resource of each city.

According to Quan, after the summit, a website about tourism in the five cities will be set up to attract international visitors.

The third summit will be held next year in Bangkok-VNA