Scene at the meeting (Photo:VNA)

Ottawa (VNA) – Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien has met with Canadian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ian Shugart to discuss measures to boosting bilateral culture-sport-tourism ties on the sidelines of the Vietnam Cultural Week in Canada.

At the meeting, which took place on September 11, Minister Thien briefed the host on Vietnam’s development achievements and potential for cooperation with Canada.

According to him, Vietnam’s economy is estimated to grow 7 percent this year, with good prospects recorded in agriculture, industry, and services. In particular, tourism has grown by 30 percent in three consecutive years, expecting to welcome 16 million tourists in 2018, doubling the figure for 2015.

Thien said the number of Canadian visitors to Vietnam is still low, just about 14,000 last year, but is increasing at a relatively high annual rate of 16 percent.

He was confident that the figure would rise, particularly after a series of events are scheduled to be held in Toronto city next week by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

For his part, Deputy Minister Ian Shugart said he wanted the sides to strengthen tourism cooperation in the future, firstly via links between their travel agencies.

He urged the establishment of a direct air route to facilitate travelling between the two countries, especially between their popular destinations.

Engagements in sports are also helpful to the development of bilateral relations, which can be achieved via the co-organisation of sport events, and exchange of sport science and technologies.

Regarding economic and trade ties, he said Canada currently records a trade deficit with Vietnam, but still gains benefits as their goods supplement rather than compete against each other.

He believes based on existing strong economic and trade cooperation and the soon-to-take-effect Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canadian firms will pay more interest in the Asian market, including Vietnam.

The official underlined that the large community of Vietnamese students in Canada will provide a firm foundation for future growth of bilateral friendship.

Human, cultural, and sport linkages will be a good basis to develop ties in other key sectors like economy, trade, investment and defence, he stated.-VNA