The inaugural BRICS Tourism Forum, which assembled over 600 leading experts, business, and government representatives from the BRICS nations, concluded in Moscow with significant outcomes. The event saw the signing of 12 commercial agreements among tourism sector representatives and the announcement of the BRICS Tourism Cities Club.

The forum, held on June 21, marked the first meeting of the working group aimed at developing practical actions for tourism cooperation among BRICS countries. This platform, initiated by South Africa in 2018, was realised under Russia’s presidency in BRICS this year. The discussions at the forum will shape future strategies in innovation, sustainability, digitalization, and city-level cooperation. Business-to-business negotiations resulted in the signing of 12 initial commercial agreements.

Maxim Reshetnikov, Russia’s Minister of Economic Development, emphasised the potential of tourism as a crucial economic sector for the BRICS countries. He noted that Russia anticipates over 90 million tourist trips this year, a 30 per cent increase from pre-Covid figures. “The geography of trips is expanding, with a 50 per cent growth in foreign tourists visiting Russia in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period last year,” Reshetnikov stated.

Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has launched the “Discover Russia” program to promote the country’s tourism under a unified brand. This initiative aims to present an authentic image of Russia to foreign tourists and has already been showcased at major international exhibitions in China, India, and Saudi Arabia.

Zhang Zheng, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, highlighted the establishment of the BRICS Tourism Working Group as a catalyst for new progress in tourism cooperation among BRICS nations. He emphasized its potential to contribute to the development of these countries.

Echoing this sentiment, Amr El Kady, CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, stated that tourism not only creates jobs and drives economic growth but also builds bridges between nations and cultures, fostering peace and understanding.

First Cambodia - India Tourism Year launched along with first direct flight between both countries

In their addresses, Saxena and Phirum highlighted the importance of this initiative. Speaking in Cambodian, Phirum described the designation of 2024 as “Cambodia-India Tourism Year” as a “significant milestone” and celebrated the new direct air link between Phnom Penh and New Delhi. Saxena expressed optimism that the new flight service and the “Cambodia-India Tourism Year” would enable citizens of both countries to rediscover their shared heritage, boosting economic opportunities for tourism businesses and enhancing mutual prosperity and understanding.

Niraj Sharan, Assistant Director General of the Ministry of Tourism of India, underscored the importance of sustainable tourism for economic growth, cultural exchange, and environmental stewardship among BRICS nations. He stressed the need for inclusive tourism development that benefits all stakeholders.Representatives from the Moscow City Government noted their commitment to expanding multilateral cooperation with BRICS countries. Evgeny Kozlov, First Deputy Head of the Moscow Government Office and Chairman of the Moscow City Tourism Committee, highlighted the city’s efforts to increase tourist flow from BRICS nations. He reported that Moscow had welcomed 129,000 guests from BRICS countries in the first quarter of 2024 and expects over 600,000 by year-end.

During the forum, Moscow proposed the establishment of the BRICS Tourism Cities Club, aimed at fostering inter-regional tourism and providing a platform for direct dialogue between BRICS representatives. Kozlov expressed hope that this initiative would be embraced by partners and serve as a foundation for increasing mutual tourist flow.

The first BRICS Tourism Forum has set a strong foundation for future collaboration and growth in the tourism sector among BRICS nations, paving the way for enhanced economic, cultural, and environmental benefits.

  • Published On Jun 25, 2024 at 08:19 PM IST

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