The International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City 2017 (ITE HCMC), themed 'Your gateway to tourism in Asia', officially kicked off at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) in District 7 on September 7.
In his opening address, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director of the HCMC Tourism Department, stated that the fair is one of the most important and prestigious tourism commerce forums in Vietnam and in the region as well, contributing to advertising Vietnam's tourism to international friends and accelerating cooperation between countries in the region and around the world in developing the tourism industry.
Ongoing from September 7 to 9, the ITE HCMC 2017, the 13th of its kind, gathers the participation of more than 700 international travel businesses from 40 countries and territories, including many of Vietnam's key tourism markets, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, China, Japan and Southeast Asian nations.
Alongside exhibition programmes to promote tourism, workshops are also scheduled under the framework of the three-day fair, featuring Vietnam's key and potential tourism markets in 2017 and the development of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) tourism in HCM City.
Coming to the 13th ITE HCMC, international purchasers will have the chance to experience unique activities and participate in field trips to famous tourist destinations in Vietnam, such as the Can Gio Mangrove Forest, eco-tourism in Can Tho city and Da Lat, a flowerful city of romance, which will enable them to seek business cooperation opportunities and contribute to advertising Vietnamese tourism to other countries in the world.
One of the new features of this year's event is the ITE HCMC Awards 2017, which is aimed at honouring the travel enterprises accompanying and making active contributions to the ITE HCMC over the past years. The awards offer three major categories, including the prize for "Most Impressively Designed Pavilion", "ITE HCMC Brand" and "ITE HCMC Companion."
Launched for the first time in 2005, the ITE HCMC is an annual international tourism event that connects five countries in the Mekong River downstream, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Last year, the fair attracted 270 display units from 17 countries and territories, alongside 32 localities across Vietnam. There were over 26,000 arrivals of visitors to the event, and more than 3,600 meetings between purchasers and sellers.
Earlier on the night of September 6, the HCM City Tourism Department organised a Gala Dinner, as part of the activities of the ITE HCMC 2017, with the participation of tourism officials and travel companies from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
At the programme, delegates enjoyed many unique musical and dancing performances imbued with Vietnam's national and cultural identities, alongside the solidarity and friendship between countries in the region.
On the occasion, the organising committee announced that Vietnam's national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has been recognised as a four-star airline by SkyTrax, a London-based airline review and rating organisation. This is the second consecutive year that Vietnam Airlines has received the title, contributing to the promotion of the development of Vietnam's tourism industry towards quality, sustainability and the preservation of natural resources.