“Cooperation in developing tourism within ASEAN” was the theme of a seminar held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) in the central city of Da Nang on March 27.

The seminar was one of the Vietnamese tourism sector’s initiatives to further boost the regional tourism connectivity and cooperation when Vietnam officially assumes the role as the ASEAN Chair.

The event also served as a forum for ASEAN countries to exchange issues of common concern and seek effective measures to cope with obstacles facing the regional tourism in order to make ASEAN an attractive destination on the world tourist map, looking towards the building of a dynamic and sustainable ASEAN community.

According to MCST Deputy Minister Tran Chien Thang, ASEAN countries have many advantages for tourism development cooperation as they have convenient traffic conditions, share similarities in cultural identities and boast many natural and cultural heritages.

Boosting the regional connectivity and cooperation, especially in tourism, is one of priorities of each country’s tourism sector and is also reflected in State-level joint commitments, including the ASEAN Tourism Agreement and the ASEAN Tourism Integration Strategy, he said.

The Vietnamese tourism sector has made an important contribution to the national economy with continuously increasing number of international arrivals, Thang said, adding that since the beginning of the year, more than 1.35 million foreign tourists visited the country.

Ong Jin Chwen, Area Director, Chief Representative of the Singapore Tourism Board in Indochina , said ASEAN countries are well-known for long coastal lines, beautiful beaches and good climate which are suitable for developing cruise tourism.

Last year, ASEAN welcomed nearly 63 million visitors with tourists within the bloc accounting for 40 percent of the arrivals./.