HANOI, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 200 delegates, including leaders of national tourism organizations (NTOs) of ASEAN members and the regional groupings partners gathered in Vietnams northern Quang Ninh province on Monday, touching upon measures to speed up sustainable tourism development.
At the 49th meeting of NTOs of countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which opened on Monday in Quang Ninhs Ha Long city, the delegates also highlighted contributions of tourism sector to gross domestic product. The meeting kick-started various activities of the five-day 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF).
Addressing the meeting, Nguyen Trung Khanh, general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said tourism sector makes contributions to better political and cultural understanding, and closer bilateral and multilateral cooperation not only among regional countries, but also among nations in the world.
Themed ASEAN: The Power of One, the 38th ATF with the expected participation of some 2,000 delegates is to intensify cooperative regional efforts to promote ASEAN as one tourist destination for international visitors, and to promote intra-block tourism.
The delegates are to focus their discussions on standardization and development of human resources, improvement of competitive edges, and inclusive and sustainable development in tourism sector, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
The forum will also provide a platform for the sales of regional and individual tourism products of ASEAN member countries through a 3-day international travel fair named TRAVEX with the participation of 610 corporate sellers and 290 buyers. The sellers are from Vietnam and other nine ASEAN state members, and the buyers are from 32 countries and regions, mostly those in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Vietnam hosted roughly 15.5 million international arrivals in 2018, up 19.9 percent against 2017, with the highest growth of 44.3 percent in the number of visitors from South Korea, followed by Finland, up 24.9 percent, and China, up 23.9 percent, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Specifically, Quang Ninh alone received 5.2 million foreign visitors, up 22.1 percent.