Algerian Minister of Tourism and Craft Industry Abdelkader Benmessaoud presents a gift to Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru during their meeting in Algiers on July 26. (Photo: VNA)

Algiers (VNA) – Algerian Minister of Tourism and Craft Industry Abdelkader Benmessaoud on July 26 received Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru in Algiers, who came to discuss expanding cooperation between the two countries, particularly in tourism.

Speaking at the meeting, the two officials emphasised the need to accelerate the implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in tourism inked between Vietnam and Algeria in 2015.

Under the MoU, the two countries agreed to make efforts to strengthen cooperation in tourism investment, hospitality education and other areas. They also agreed to establish ties between their travel firms and promote tourist destinations by facilitating two-way tourism exchange, fostering experience exchange and business-to-business meetings between tour operators and tourism investors from the two sides.

Algeria and Vietnam share many similarities with a strong bond and long-standing friendship, said Minister Benmessaoud.

He expressed his great affection for Vietnam and lauded Vietnam’s revolutionary victory and what the country has achieved in national reconstruction and economic development, especially in the field of tourism.

Algeria is striving to develop tourism and craft industries to diversify its economy, the minister noted, adding that tourism will become a pillar in the country’s economy.

He expressed his desire to deepen the bilateral partnership for Algeria to learn from Vietnam’s experience in developing tourism and craft industries.

Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru praised the achievements of the Algerian government in restoring peace and developing the country. The Vietnamese diplomat also spoke highly of Algeria’s potential for tourism development and expected the two countries will bolster ties in this sector.

The two sides later agreed to hold a Vietnam – Algeria tourism cooperation forum this November in Algiers alongside the first meeting of the joint committee for supervision of bilateral tourism cooperation between the two countries.

Tru has been active in looking for closer trade and investment links between Vietnam and Algerian provinces. Earlier this month, he visited Setif province where he was hosted by Chairman of Setif province Nacer Maaskri. The two sides expressed desire to elevate economic ties to a new height, and agreed to step up cooperation in trade, industry, agriculture, labour and tourism.

They also looked to set up twin relations between Setif and a Vietnamese locality in the near future.

Last year, two-way trade between Vietnam and Algeria hit 360 million USD. Vietnam’s exports to Algeria rose to 281 million USD in 2017 from 233 million USD in 2015, making Algeria its third largest export market in Africa.

However, Algeria’s new import policy for 2018 which bans more than 850 products from entering the country, including those from Vietnam, is causing many challenges for Vietnamese exporters.

According to the Vietnamese Commercial Office, Vietnam’s exports of many key items like mobile phones, confectionery, cereals, fruits and vegetables, plastic products, iron, steel and ceramics, are likely to be hampered by this move. –VNA