PHNOM PENH, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) tourism officials met Phnom Penh Sunday for promoting tourism cooperation.
“The meeting is to boost closer tourism cooperation for better tourism growth in ASEAN as well as in the three countries — China, Japan and South Korea,” Tith Chantha, director general of Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, told reporters after the meeting on Sunday.
He said that the three countries, especially China, have helped ASEAN a lot in developing tourism through human capacity building and promotions through exhibitions.
“However, we appeal to them to continue existing cooperation and intensify their assistance to develop ASEAN tourism, especially on human resources development,” he said.
In 2010, ASEAN received more than 70 million international tourists, more than 10 million from China, Japan and South Korea, said Tith Chantha. Wang Yanjie, deputy director of the International Relations Division of China National Tourism Administration, said, during the meeting, that China sees ASEAN countries as a potential growth for its tourism and China has created a website for China-ASEAN center in October 2010.
“Now we are preparing for the real center, which is an important platform to exchange cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the fields of trades, investment, tourism, cultures and others,” she said.
“We hope that the center will be launched by next year to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the dialogue between China and ASEAN.”
She said that China will continue to assist the development of ASEAN tourism through human resource training and encouraging more Chinese people to visit ASEAN.
In the meeting, Naoyoshi Yamada, vice commissioner for International Affairs Department of the Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and Shin Pyungsup, director of South Korea’s National Tourism Organization have also pledged to continue their technical and financial assistance to develop ASEAN tourism.
The meeting was a part of the 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum, scheduled for Jan. 15-21. During the event, there will be summits of ASEAN tourism ministers, ASEAN tourism ministers+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) and ASEAN tourism ministers+ India and Russia.
There will also be a tourism expo, which draws more than 2,000 exhibitors from tourism companies, travel agencies and airlines in ASEAN countries. Buyers from around the world are also invited to the event.
ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.