05 Countries ACMECS Tourism Ministers Agree to Expend Regional Direct Flights to Boost Joint Tourist Destination Connectivity

(Siem Reap): Ministers of Tourism of ACMECS member nations have urged to get joint tourist destinations connectivity done between regional 05 countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, under a mechanism “05 Countries, One Destination” throughout encouraging airlines to expand additional direct flights in the region.

 The encouragement came in the 5th ACMECS Tourism Ministerial Meeting, presided over by H.E. Thong Khon, Cambodian Minister of Tourism, and Rotating Chair of Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, called ACMECS, on the morning of November 3rd, 2022, at Borey Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap province. The international meeting was also attended by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism’s delegations; Lao delegations, led by Mrs. Suanesavanh Vignaket, Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism; Myanmar delegations, led by Mr. Htay Aung, Minister of Hotel; Thai delegations, led by Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports; and Vietnamese delegations, led by Mr. Doan Van Viet, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

At that time, the meeting listened to a speech of Samdech Techo HUN SEN, Cambodian Prime Minister, on the occasion of the 5th ACMECS Tourism Ministers Meeting. After listening to the content, minister Thong Khon, chair of the meeting, stated that Samdech Techo HUN SEN has an in-depth vision on the ACMECS tourism sector.

The meeting also fully supported recommendations with regard to the boosting for ACMECS–intra travelers, focusing on the additional airway, land routes, and waterway connectivity, along with the driving for Self–Driving Tourism and the continuing of mechanism “05 Countries, One Destination” in order to attract the tourists from outside the region and the necessity in strengthening the ACMECS tourism institutional mechanism. 

Minister Thong Khon and other ACMECS member ministers of tourism welcomed the international tourist growths in ACMECS countries, which increased to roughly 10 million during the first 09 months of 2022, of which the numbers of approximately 4.8 million intra-travelers, equivalent to 49 % among a total of international tourists.

ACMECS member ministers of tourism also urged to have the tourism products connected and participation from the private sectors to foster further tourist growth. Minister Thong Khon and ACMECS member ministers of tourism have also promoted the establishment of joint tour packages from the private sectors in the ACMECS region and encouraged the national and international airlines to expand their additional direct flight operations between the tourist destinations in the ACMECS region as well as from long distancing destinations, and agreed to connect various tourist destinations by sea and river.

ACMECS tourism ministers have also encouraged to continuing improve additional tourism cooperation among ACMECS member countries to ensure that the ACMECS region has still been competitive, and become a safe and warm tourist destination.

The meeting reaffirmed that safety, sanitation, and resilience should be added to raising awareness and the implementation of all tourism activities. Ministers of Tourism of ACMECS member countries agreed to make better cooperation on the tourism products protocol, including community tourism, ecotourism, and adventure tourism, tourism sports event, health tourism, food tourism, and also agreed to drive for responsible tourism policy in the aim at making favorable conditions for tourism products and business development.

With this, ACMECS Ministers of Tourism also laid out a MSME supportive cooperation framework to become a backbone for resilient and responsible development. Minister Thong Khon and other ACMECS Ministers of Tourism also promoted the exchanging of experience on digitalization in the tourism sector, such as the Digital Literacy Training Program, Digital Skill Development, and Digital Technology Use to increase productivity and competitiveness.

ACMECS Ministers of Tourism also adopted the Logo of ACMECS Tourism to enhance the realization of the mechanism “05 Nations, One Destination” and highly valued for the implementation of promoting activities and joint tourism marketing in preparation for international tourism fairs and other events in the ACMECS countries.

In terms of human resource development, ACMECS Ministers of Tourism have also supported the establishment of a training network and educational institution for ACMECS member countries with related information and the update of information, along with exchanging of experience and best practices on MICE development through various workshops. ACMECS Ministers of Tourism have also encouraged to get more tourism professionals exchanged in ACMECS countries under Mutual Recognition Agreement on ASEAN Tourism Professionals (ASEAN MRA –TP). ACMECS Ministers of Tourism acknowledged the importance and supported the initiative in studying on the feasibility of establishing a Secretariat or ACMECS Tourism Coordinating Office in 2023 and 2024. ACMECS Ministers of Tourism also endorsed on Siem Reap Declaration on the Future of ACMECS Tourism and acknowledged the outcome of the 1st ACMECS/CLMV Tourism Dialogues, to be held in the afternoon of November 02nd, 2022, and supported having this program again for regional sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism development.

The 6th ACMECS Senior Officials and Tourism Ministers Meeting will be held in Laos in 2024. ACMECS is derived from the full term “Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy”, called ACMECS. The Ayeyarwaddy River or the Issaravati River stretches in Myanmar, the Chao Phraya River or the Chao Phraya River stretches in Thailand, while the Mekong River includes Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.