HCM CITY As many as 185 travel agencies and tourism-related companies from 16 countries are taking part in the three-day International Travel Expo HCM City which opened at the Phu Tho Exhibition Centre yesterday.
It was opened by deputy chairwoman of the HCM City People s Committee, Nguyen Thi Hong, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tran Chien Thang, Cambodia s tourism minister Thong Kon, and chairman of the Lao National Tourism Administration Somphong Mongkhonvilay.
"In addition to annual activities like the exhibition and buyers-sellers meeting, this year there is also an international conference on tourism investment in Cambodia-Laos-Viet Nam and a tourism award to encourage tourism agencies to improve their services," Hong said.
As an economic locomotive, HCM City had taken several initiatives to promote the country s tourism sector, she said, announcing the "HCM City 100 interesting things" and "One day in a five-star hotel" programmes.
"On the back of these efforts, the HCM City tourism industry has recorded significant growth, sustaining its leading position in the Vietnamese tourism industry.
"International tourist arrivals [in HCM City] are growing at an average of 10 per cent a year, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the country s international arrivals," Hong added.
For his part, Thang said: "We are pleased that ITE HCM City has justified our faith in conferring it a national travel trade event."
"ITE HCM City is a very important travel trade event that showcases the latest regional tourism products and services to international buyers and travel professionals," said Thong Kon about the event.
From the Lao viewpoint Somphong Mongkhonvilay said: "ITE helps strengthen friendship and promote healthy competition between tourism service providers from the three countries.
"Over the years, Laos s tourism has benefited immensely from participating in ITE HCM City and I am confident this trend will continue in the coming years."
Some 113 buyers from 21 countries will meet 73 Vietnamese sellers at the expo which closes on Saturday. More than 2,000 appointments have been arranged through an online buyer-seller appointment programme.
The expo is being supported by national carrier Vietnam Airlines and its partners, United Airlines Eva Airlines, Philippines Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.
It hopes to receive 6,500 business visitors and 10,000 other visitors.
At the Ministerial Media Conference held after the opening ceremony, Thong Kon called for setting up a website, publishing a magazine or distributing a VCD with images from the three countries to promote the "Three Countries, One Destination" concept finalised a few years ago.
He also suggested issuing a common visa for all three countries. VNS