As its president Dilma Rousseff was forced out of office by a 61-20 vote in the Senate, Brazil on Thursday abstained from the first BRICS Convention on Tourism held at the temple city of Khajuraho.
“We are extremely sorry because representatives from Brazil could not attend this event,” Vinod Zutshi, secretary of tourism, said in his welcome address at the five-nation convention on tourism promotion.
Without elaborating on Brazil’s absence, Zutshi said, “Because of a political crisis in the country, no-one could attend the convention.” This is for the first time Brazil has abstained from attending a BRICS event.
Representatives from other four BRICS nations — Russia, India, China and South Africa — on Thursday promised to work in close coordination to transform the tourism industry as a major contributor to their GDP.
Union minister of state for tourism Mahesh Sharma, who was scheduled to inaugurate the event, also failed to show up.
BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising 43% of the world population, having 37% of the world GDP and 17% share in the world trade. Claiming that tourism helps in social transformation and generates employment opportunities, representatives of the four BRICS nations emphasised on a number of reform measures.
‘We need to enhance promotion of all major tourism destinations’
Liu Kezhi, director-general of China National Tourism Authority (CNTA), said the BRICS nations should jointly implement a series of policies for sustainable development of the tourism sector. “We need to enhance promotion of all major tourism destinations,” he said.
The leader of the Chinese delegation said there should be a stronger mechanism for tourists’ exchange and cooperation. In 2015, more than 2 lakh Chinese tourists visited India. “This year, we also expect a lot of Indians to visit our country because we are promoting ‘Visit China Year’,” Kezhi said.
DA Hanekom, tourism minister of South Africa, said he hoped that the event would be the beginning of a much stronger cooperation to give boost to tourism sectors in all the five countries. “Tourism can be a powerful tool for development of the BRICS nations,” he said.
Zutshi said as chairman of BRICS Tourism, India definitely had a pro-active role to play in promoting the sector. “There is always scope for us to bring about tourism growth with better destination management,” he said, adding that introduction of e-tourist visa facilities has increased the visit of foreign tourists to India.