Tourism ministers from India and ASEAN member countries signed Thursday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ASEAN–India tourism cooperation during the ASEAN Tourism Forum at the Grand Kawanua Convention Center in Manado, North Sulawesi.
Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said the MoU would serve as the key instrument for more action-oriented cooperation, encouraging both parties to cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visits.
“We are pleased to note that the number of tourist arrivals between ASEAN and India has shown steady growth,” she told a press conference.
Mari said the ministers welcomed the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Full Liberalization of Passenger Air Services.
The ministers encouraged their transportation counterparts to bring about an early conclusion of the ASEAN–India Air Transport Agreement, given its significance for enhancing connectivity that could increase the number of travels and strengthen people-to-people contact between ASEAN and India.
“We also welcome the forthcoming ASEAN–India Car Rally, to be organized in 2012. This rally would mark another meaningful step forward in this cooperation and at the same time reflect the existence of land route connectivity, as well as facilitate tourism exchange between ASEAN and India,” said Mari.
A tourism marketing and promotion arm of the ASEAN National Tourism Organizations, called the ASEAN Promotional Chapter, has also been established in Mumbai, India.
The total number of tourist arrivals from ASEAN to India in 2010 reached 439,000 arrivals, up from 276,000 in 2009.
Tourist arrivals from India to ASEAN stood at 2.2 million in 2011, up by nearly 10 percent compared to 2010. (nvn)