The new CLMVT Group (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) had its first Forum in Bangkok last Thursday and Friday. Among the advocates field to development is tourism. But all the speakers intervening during the two-day conference reminded about the necessity of enhancing connectivity – that means essentially infrastructure. Other aspects of the cooperation among the five countries are mutual trade, new technology to link trade information, regional products and more freedom of movements among citizens of the five countries. “The five countries together represent already a market of 300 million people which is far of being neglectible. Our CLMVT nations should flex their muscles to help build a value-chain network, do away with border disputes and establish connectivity among one another.
According to Prayuth, the CLMVT Group has then the potential to play a unique role as a vital destination for international investment, tourism and industry. “We must produce results. Otherwise such a grouping will have no sense. Our strength is that CLMVT can work out solutions in a more efficient rapid way as it is basically a face-to-face structure without a secretary or intermediary”, he said;
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said greater cooperation is needed between tourism and sports ministries in the five countries to actively promote a common strategy for the entire region. She indicated that sustainable tourism development, a tourist information pool, new air links and also ways to simplify borders crossing would be among the priorities. “We are just at the beginning of a long-term development”, she admitted. A single visa procedure could be introduced for CLMVT countries and then eventually extended and adopted by other ASEAN countries.