Vietnam, Indonesia seek to boost healthcare, economic, and tourism co-operation
The Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia co-hosted a webinar on November 8 in co-ordination with the Indonesia-Vietnam Friendship Association on healthcare, economic, and tourism cooperation in order to make policy recommendations for both sides amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his opening remarks at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Pham Vinh Quang reiterated that in many parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to seriously impact socio-economic development and people’s lives. Indeed, both countries are also facing the negative consequences of the recent waves of various COVID-19 outbreaks. They are pursuing a strategy of living with COVID-19 and are therefore focusing on accelerating post-pandemic economic recovery.
The island of Bali represents the leading destination in the process of returning to normal in Indonesia, while in the nation, the island district of Phu Quoc is also expected to re-open to international visitors later this year or early next year.
During the course of the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits held last month, the country joined, Indonesia and other ASEAN members in adopting the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) aimed at navigating the region's common strategy to push back the pandemic.
In this context, Ambassador Pham Vinh Quang suggested that both sides seek to ramp up co-operation against the pandemic by improving public health capacity and social welfare, whilst staying ready to respond to challenges in the time ahead.
In response, Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Denny Abdi reaffirmed that the two sides are strong partners in terms of economics and development, with their traditional friendship now covering a variety of fields.
The nation is Indonesia's fourth largest economic partner in ASEAN, along with being their ninth largest export market. The two countries currently account for roughly 60% of ASEAN's population and 45% of the regional bloc’s total GDP.
After recording a positive growth trend, the two countries can serve as the driving force behind the post-pandemic economic growth in the region.
According to Ambassador Denny, both nations boast huge potential for co-operation in terms of fisheries, high industry, and digital economy thanks to being home to a large, young, and educated population, as well as a growing number of middle-income earners.
Upon welcoming the adoption of the ACRF, which facilitates essential travel between ASEAN member states, Ambassador Denny underlined the necessity of ensuring safe and efficient interoperability between systems or COVID-19 tracing apps that are being used by various regional countries.
He went on to note that this will not only facilitate travelers and airlines, but it will also serve to reactivate an industry that has been hit hard by the impact of the pandemic.
Speaking on the issue, Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno noted that the pandemic has hit and caused changes in the tourism ecosystem, adding that the new tourism economy will prioritise hygiene, less contact, less movement, less crowding, and digitalisation.
Therefore, the local tourism industry must devise strategic directions in order to quickly adapt to uncertain, complex, and unclear changes underway at present.
Minister Sandiaga emphasised that tourism is expected to become a driving force for national economic growth. This effort is getting closer to reality following its success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting effective operations in both countries.
According to Minister Sandiaga, in the event that the pandemic is successfully contained with the active participation of the community in the vaccination campaign, along with strict compliance with health regulations, tourism can represent a solution which can revive the national economy.
During the course of the seminar, speakers also discussed and shared best practices and lessons learned from both sides in responding to and living with COVID-19, balancing health priorities and the economy, whilst also reopening the economy in general and the tourism sector in particular.
Other issues to be tabled for discussion include supporting businesses, seeking co-operation opportunities in researching and producing vaccines and therapeutic drugs, and promoting sustainable recovery.