1. The Chairman of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2006, H.E. Mr. Joseph H. Durano, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines received a courtesy call by the Indian delegation headed by Mr. Rajeev Talwar, Additional Director-General, Ministry of Tourism, on 16 January 2006 in Davao, Philippines. H.E Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN was in attendance.
2. Secretary Durano, on behalf of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers, thanked the Indian delegation for attending the NTO’s meeting held on 15 January 2006 and expressed their collective appreciation for the various proposals presented in that meeting and look forward to the next meeting with the Minister of Tourism of India.
3. As a follow-up to the ASEAN-India Plan of Action to implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity signed at the Third ASEAN-India Summit, Mr. Talwar reiterated the commitment of India to strengthen cooperation with ASEAN and stressed that India would like to progress this through concrete measures in promoting tourism. In this context, India made the following proposals:
Establishment of Joint ASEAN-India Tourism Working Group to follow up on the actions taken and to find ways to enhance the cooperation between India and ASEAN. India offered to host the first meeting in April 2006;
India is ready to assist the development and maintenance of an ASEAN Tourism Portal for promoting and marketing ASEAN destinations. In the interim, India offered to hyperlink its tourism website with the individual tourism websites of ASEAN Member Countries on a reciprocal basis;
Exchange of academic dignitaries, experts, trainers and professionals in tourism- related fields; and
Promotion of tour packages and participation in tourism fairs and events in India, such as South Asia Travel & Tourism Exchange to be held on 20-23 April 2006 in New Delhi.
4. Secretary Durano expressed his appreciation for the keen interest of India to advance ASEAN-India tourism cooperation and said that he would inform the other ASEAN Tourism Ministers on what India has offered and to respond appropriately. Secretary Durano noted that senior officials from ASEAN and India would be tasked to follow up on the proposals once the ASEAN Tourism Ministers have provided their response.