K. J. Alphons, Indian Minister for Tourism attended the 7th meeting of Tourism Ministers of ASEAN and India held in Ha Long City, Viet Nam recently. Alphons co-chaired the Tourism Ministers’ meeting with the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, Nguyen Ngoc Thien. The Ministers’ meeting noted the strengthened tourism performance of ASEAN and India in 2018 with preliminary numbers of 139.5 million tourist arrivals to ASEAN and India in the year with an increase of 7.4 per cent as compared to the previous year.
During the meeting, the Ministers welcomed the decisions of the ASEAN-India Informal Breakfast Summit held on 15 November 2018 in Singapore. As a follow up to the Summit, the Ministers launched the ASEAN-India Tourism Cooperation Year 2019, and looked forward to enhancing cooperation with a view to increasing two-way tourist visits and promoting greater people-to-people exchanges between ASEAN and India. Earlier, during the ASEAN - India Commemorative Summit in January 2018, the Prime Minister of India had proposed designating the year 2019 as ASEAN-India Tourism Year. This was also discussed during the 20th ASEAN-India Tourism Working Group meeting in Thailand, and it was decided to prepare a calendar of activities commemorating the ASEAN - India Year of Tourism. The Ministry of Tourism has prepared and shared a calendar including various events for celebrating tourism year.
The Ministers’ meeting agreed to further enhance ASEAN-India cooperation in tourism under the framework of the ‘2012 Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and India on Strengthening Tourism Cooperation with intensified efforts and activities. The meeting also noted the progress made in the implementation of the MoU through several activities in 2018 like Sharing the best practices, resources and facilities, Exchanging information pertaining to statistics & development strategies and the International Buddhist Conclave held on 22-25 August 2018.
The Tourism Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand also attended the meeting.