Since the official launch of the cooperation year in Manila in March, the two tourism blocs have drawn closer on matters concerning the sector.
Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said that as a result of the cooperative effort, Asean and China had established high-level cooperation on tourism matters, shared data and statistics at multiple levels, and promoted quality tourism through the enhancement of standards.
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They have also encouraged participation at travel-trade shows and tourism festivals through the Asean-China Centre, boosted links between tourism education institutions, facilitated greater liberalised air connectivity, and created a framework for better cruise and yacht tourism cooperation, he said.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Thai official added: “The inaugural ‘Asean-China Tourism Cooperation Year’ has successfully laid the foundations for enhanced two-way tourism cooperation between Asean and China. Many mutual tourism benefits have been achieved. Asean and China can now look forward to further deepening and broadening their tourism cooperation.”
China is the biggest source of foreign tourists for Asean, and tourism growth between the two blocs is already huge.
Last year, Asean’s number of tourist arrivals from China was 19.8 million, an increase of 6.4 per cent over 2015.
The number of Asean tourists visiting China came in at 10.34 million, some 57.8 per cent higher than the 2015 level.