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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Carr plans South-East Asia visit

Carr plans South-East Asia visit
Foreign Minister Bob Carr will travel to Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore.

While Senator Carr visited New Zealand as foreign minister-designate, this will be his first trip since being formally sworn in last week.

Senator Carr wants the trip to highlight the priority Australia places on its relationship with South-East Asia.

'This region is critical to Australia's long-term national interest - politically, economically and for regional and global security,' he said in a statement.

'The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been central to the development of a prosperous and stable region and to the increasing stature of regional institutions, particularly the East Asia Summit (EAS).'
Senator Carr will leave Australia on Saturday for Cambodia, the current chair of ASEAN and the EAS.

He will meet Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and visit some Australian-funded aid projects.

In Vietnam, he will meet Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and open the new Australian Consulate-General premises in Ho Chi Minh City.

In Singapore, he will meet Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam for talks on reforms in Burma and other topics.
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ASEAN experts meet in Cambodia to boost tourism cooperation

PHNOM PENH, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Tourism experts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered here on Tuesday to discuss ways to boost tourism cooperation in order to turn the bloc as a world-class tourist destination by 2015, said a senior Cambodian official.

Speaking at the opening of the 3-day ASEAN Tourism Working Group meeting, Tith Chantha, director general of Cambodia's Tourism Ministry, said the meeting was attended by ASEAN tourism officials, ASEAN's Tourism Association, and ASEAN Secretariat.

He said it focused on ways to promote ASEAN tourism and to enhance ASEAN tourism quality through the establishment of ASEAN tourism standards such as the standards of green hotels, clean tourism cities, spas, guesthouses, and public sanitary facilities.
Besides, it discussed ways to develop ASEAN cultural and natural tourism products and to promote traveling by cruises among ASEAN countries.

"Our ambitious goal is to become the ASEAN as a world class tourist destination by 2015 based on the ASEAN tourism strategic plan 2011-2015," Tith Chantha said.

He said that Cambodia and other ASEAN member states alike have envisaged China as a big market to boost the tourism industry in the future.

The ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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