Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh and Vice President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani inked a Letter of Intent on cooperation in the field of sustainable tourism in Hanoi on November 13.

The two sides agreed to work jointly towards the establishment of a periodic dialogue and exchange of information between their services responsible for tourism on the respective initiatives in the field of tourism, to ensure the development of sustainability and competitiveness in tourism in the European Union and in Vietnam .

The Letter of Intent also said Vietnam and EU would promote the exchange of good practices in the development of sustainable tourism among European and Vietnamese tourism authorities and main stakeholders, including the academic world, notably in the fields of natural and cultural heritage preservation and promotion, small and medium- size enterprises, training and skill, and the improvement of tourism services quality.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Hoang Tuan Anh praised the support and cooperation of the EU with Vietnam, particularly in the field of tourism.

Vietnam tourism set the targets to receive 7.5 million foreign and over 35 million domestic arrivals, contributing over 10 billion USD to the state budget in 2013.

The development cooperation and support of the EU has been helping Vietnam fulfil the set target, he added.

Minister Tuan Anh also asked EU to continue its cooperation and assistance to Vietnam in other fields such as culture, sports and family.

For his part, Vice President Antonio Tajani affirmed that EU would like to continue and develop bilateral ties with Vietnam including the sustainable tourism development and other fields of culture, sports and family.

He said EU is willing to share its experience with Vietnam in building development models of sustainable and responsible tourism, pledging the union’s participation in bilateral tourism activities and cultural exchanges in the months to come.

He considered activities to introduce Vietnamese cuisine in EU members as a magnet for international tourists to the Southeast Asian country.

Organising cultural activities and introducing Vietnamese cuisine to European countries would help attract foreign visitors to come to Vietnam, Vice President Antonio Tajani suggested.

EU has been assisting Vietnam in realising the environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (ESRT) between 2011 and 2015. ESRT is funded with 11 million EUR by EU and 1.1 million EUR by the Vietnamese Government.-VNA