GMS countries discuss ways to restore tourism during, after COVID-19 pandemic

26th Aug, 2020 | Tourism Mail Crew

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 26 : Senior tourism officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) convened the first Destination Mekong Summit via video conference to discuss ways to restore tourism during and after the COVID-19 crisis, the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism said in a statement on Wednesday.

The GMS countries consists of Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The virtual meeting, held on Tuesday, touched on various topics including solutions to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ways to restore regional tourism, and measures taken by each GMS country to ensure tourists' safety and to prevent the spread of the virus from a destination to another, the statement said.

The meeting noted that the infection rate in the GMS countries was very low compared with that of other regions but foreign tourists are still not permitted because the risk of imported cases is still high.

According to the statement, Thailand initiated the "green travel bubble" concept on a bilateral or trilateral basis during the meeting, and if successful, it could be extended to a multilateral level.

The concept of the "green travel bubble" involves the easing of travel restrictions between two or more countries that record low local COVID-19 infections.

Speaking at the meeting, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said although it is not yet possible to welcome international tourists, the country had enforced anti-pandemic preventive measures at tourism sites to ensure tourists' safety.

Cambodia received 1.18 million international visitors during the first half of 2020, down 64.6 percent from 3.33 million over the same period last year, due to the pandemic, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The kingdom has so far recorded a total of 273 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, adding that none have died and 264 have recovered.(Xinhua)