Data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) show that ASEAN accounts for 20 percent of foreign tourists to Vietnam. In the first seven months of 2011, Vietnam welcomed 248,600 tourists from Cambodia (up 74.2 percent compared with the same period last year), 137,300 tourists from Malaysia (up 18.7 percent), and 102,000 tourists from Singapore (up 10.6 percent). ASEAN is considered as one of the important cooperation partners of the Vietnam travel sector.
In the recent period, the tourism sectors of other ASEAN countries have carried out many activities and actively sought opportunities to invest in Vietnam. Malaysia has carried out market surveys and had advertising programs to promote cooperation with Vietnam in the field of eco-tourism and adventure tourism. Fiona Loi, the chief representative of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in the Indochina region, said that last year STB coordinated with VNAT to assess the possibilities for development of Vietnamese seaports in order to promote cooperation in the field of sea tourism. The tourism sectors of the two countries carried out two surveys in the central region of Vietnam (in Thua Thien Hue Province and Da Nang City) and the southern region (Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island) to promote investment in sea tourism and contribute to economic growth in the ASEAN region. So, in the coming period, sea tourism will continue to be one of the important fields in bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore.
At the 34th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organizations which took place in Luang Prabang, Laos recently, Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries expressed strong determination to boost tourism cooperation through the implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan for 2011-2015. Vietnam and other ASEAN countries will concentrate on mobilizing financial and human resources for the implementation of this plan. ASEAN members have agreed to raise the minimum yearly dues of each country from US$10,000 to US$20,000. The ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy for 2011-2015 themed "Southeast Asia: Feel the Warmth" will be implemented. Efforts will be made to improve the quality of ASEAN's tourism products so that ASEAN can become an ideal destination for tourists from the rest of the world and ASEAN's tourism can compete with the tourism sectors of other regions in the world. In the coming period, ASEAN will build common tourism standards such as ASEAN WC standards and ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standards.
Notably, the Ho Chi Minh City International Tourism Expo (HCMC ITE) which is organized annually and attracts participants from many countries has created opportunities for Vietnam and other ASEAN countries to boost comprehensive cooperation in the field of tourism development. La Quoc Khanh, the deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that, under the theme "Four nations - One destination", HCMC ITE 2011 will be taking place from September 14-17 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center to popularize the tourism images of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. This will be a good chance for international travel companies to seek updated information about tourism products and services, establish relations with new business partners and grasp the tourism development trends of regional countries.