Vietnam, Cambodia promote tourism cooperation in the post COVID-19 pandemic
|Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung worked with Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Nguyen Huy Tang to discuss promoting cultural, sports and tourism cooperation during the COVID-19 period between Vietnam and Cambodia, August 2021. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
Vietnam and Cambodia are two neighboring countries located in Southeast Asia, with many similarities in culture, customs and lifestyle, from agriculture of rice, fruit-growing gardens to industrial development, commerce, and tourism. The role of the tourism industry in the socio-economy is valued by both countries.
The foundation of tourism cooperation was formed in 1995 when Vietnam and Cambodia signed a governmental agreement on tourism cooperation. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam and the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015 to concretize the agreement.
In 2020, the Vietnam-Cambodia Tourism Working Group was established, meeting alternately in the two countries. The third meeting will be hosted by Vietnam in October 2022 in Quang Nam province. Recently, at a bilateral exchange between the Prime Ministers of the two countries on May 11 on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Summit in the US, the two leaders emphasized their desire to promote cooperation in tourism recovery in the post-COVID-19 period.
The attention and facilitation from the leaders of the two countries form a solid premise for Vietnam and Cambodia to strengthen cooperation in this field.
The Vietnam tourism marketing strategy and the Vietnam tourism development strategy to 2030 both identify the markets in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, as important markets to focus on.
Both have exempted visas for ordinary passport holders of each country. Transport by air, river and road, connecting the major cities is convenient for tourism development. Travel businesses cooperate closely in organizing tours of self-driving cars, tours by road, river and air.
After the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2019-2021, both countries have re-opened all domestic and international tourism activities since March 2022 by air, land and sea through all border gates.
Regarding tourism promotion, tourism management agencies of the two countries regularly participate in international tourism fairs such as VITM in Hanoi, ITE-HCM in Ho Chi Minh City, CTM in Cambodia; supporting each other in organizing the destination introduction program, seminars and conferences.
|Officials of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism delivered a speech to welcome Cambodia's tourism introduction program in Can Tho, July 2022. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
In response to the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Cambodia, a common tourism logo is used in joint tourism promotion activities.
The Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia held a program to introduce Cambodia tourism in Can Tho in July 2022. Officials of the National Administration of Tourism participated as the Guest of Honor and delivered the opening speech at the event. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism plans to organize the 2022 Vietnam Tourism Introduction Program scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2022 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Besides, Vietnam and Laos closely cooperate in many regional tourism forums such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Greater Mekong Subregion Cooperation (GMS), Ayeyarwady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), Four Countries-One Destination Cooperation (CLMV), The Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area Cooperation (CLV), Southern Corridor Tourism Cooperation (Laos-Thailand-Vietnam), Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC).
Within the framework of CLV cooperation, at the 11th CLV Summit on December 9, 2020, the Prime Ministers of the three countries approved the "Plan for Tourism Development in the CLV Triangle Area for the period 2020-2025 towards 2030”.
|Cambodia's Minister of Tourism Thong Khon attended the Vietnam Tourism Introduction Program in Cambodia in August 2017. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
In May 2022, Vietnam hosted the first online meeting of the CLV Tourism Working Group to discuss the assignment under the Plan, in which each country led the implementation of 5 tasks.
With cooperative efforts from both sides, the tourist exchange in 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) reached over 1.1 million, of which Cambodian visitors to Vietnam reached more than 227.910; Vietnamese tourists to Cambodia reached 908.803 turns. Vietnam is the third largest market for sending tourists to Cambodia.
|Deputy Director General of the General Department of Tourism Ha Van Sieu co-chaired the 2nd online meeting of the Vietnam - Cambodia Tourism Cooperation Working Group in November 2021. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)|
After the two countries re-opened to international tourism in March 2022, the tourist exchange achieved many encouraging results.
In the first six months of 2022, Vietnam welcomed 35,870 Cambodian tourists while the number of Vietnamese visitors to Cambodia reached nearly 143,300 arrivals, accounting for 28% of Cambodia's total international arrivals, ranking first place among the Cambodian tourist sending markets.
In the coming time, the tourism industry will focus on cooperation in the following specific contents.
Regarding coordination and promotion, the two sides are organizing joint tourism promotion activities at WTM London Fair, Japan JATA Fair. The two sides are actively planning joint promotion for the next few years. The tourism industry of the two countries improves the effectiveness of promotion activities, both directly and online on popular communication channels and social networks; consider the possibility of cooperation in the application of digital technology in communication recovery and tourism development.
National tourism agencies and businesses continue to support each other to participate in tourism events held in the two countries such as fairs, seminars, and promotional events to promote exchange of visitors, increase investment and business cooperation (ITE - HCMC, VITM in Vietnam, CTM in Cambodia...).
Regarding cooperation in product development, the two sides have increased exchanges to build and develop products to connect tours, routes and link travel businesses between the two countries; cooperating to welcome the FAM delegation from a third country, especially from the source and key markets such as the US, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Both need adding new experiences for visitors.
The two sides promote self-driving tours by more active discussions with the authorities; encourage localities to cooperate in connecting seaports.
On the good foundation that has been built and consolidated, with the joint efforts of the two governments and peoples, the cooperation of relevant sectors at all levels as well as the tourism business community, bilateral tourism industry will continue to develop in the future, contributing to further tightening the friendship between the two peoples and consolidating the friendly neighborly relationship between the two countries during the process of socio-economic recovery and growth.