Participating ministers at the event (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The 18th ASEAN 3 Tourism Ministers Meeting took place in Ha Long city, the northeastern province of Quang Ninh on January 18 as part of the activities of the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019 (ATF 2019).

In his opening speech, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien stressed the importance of tourism cooperation between ASEAN and its three partner countries namely China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

In 2018, about 30 million Chinese people visited ASEAN countries, an increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year, while China welcomed 22 million visitors from ASEAN, up 105 percent.

Japan and the RoK are also two major tourist markets of ASEAN, with 3 million ASEAN arrivals to Japan last year, up 16 percent, and over 5 million Japanese citizens visiting ASEAN nations, up 5 percent.

Meanwhile, 2.5 million ASEAN tourists landed in the RoK and 8 million Koreans came to ASEAN countries.

However, visitors from the three partner countries to ASEAN remain modest compared to their economic scales and numbers of outbound tourists, Thien noted.

He expressed his hope that the 18th ASEAN 3 Tourism Ministers Meeting would discuss measures to foster the exchange of tourists between the two sides as well as strengthen collaboration in areas of common concern, contributing to boosting cultural exchanges and consolidating the friendship, cooperation and prosperity of ASEAN as well as the three Northeast Asian nations.

At the event, the ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General informed tourism-related results reached at the 21st ASEAN 3 Summit held in Singapore on November 15, 2018 and ASEAN 1 Summits.

A Vietnamese representative also briefed the ASEAN 3 tourism cooperation since the 17th ASEAN 3 Tourism Ministers Meeting.-VNA