BRICS should form working stream on tourism: South African Minister

Khajuraho: BRICS nations should form a permanent working stream on tourism comprising stakeholders from both government and the private sector, South African Tourism Minister D.A. Hanekom said on Thursday.

He said this at the inauguration of the two-day BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Convention on Tourism being held here in the lead up to the BRICS leaders summit to be held in Goa in October, with India in the chair in 2016 of the grouping of emerging economies.

"India with a long tradition, history, ancient civilisation and culture with a large number of World Heritage sites like Khajuraho is destination to be visited again and again," Hanekom said, expressing his pleasure at holding the convention here in this historic temple town.

Heads of the Chinese and Russian delegations emphasised the need for greater cooperation among member countries for the growth of tourism.

The convention will see presentations by tourism departments of different states while an exhibition of traditional handicrafts and handloom is also slated to be held on the sidelines of the summit.

Union Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi, who welcomed all the delegates, said Khajuraho was selected for the convention because it was the best destination to showcase.

Although Khajuraho has no direct rail connectivity with major Indian cities, the number of Indian tourists here, for instance, increased to over 3 lakh in 2015 from around 2.5 lakh in 2014.