SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan on Friday signed a memorandum on tourism cooperation, an agreement aimed at promoting, improving and supporting efforts and activities of tourism-related professional institutions and other organizations.
The Dominican Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the parties pledged to pay special attention to the development of bilateral tourism relations with a view to strengthening their economies and fostering greater mutual understanding of their respective cultures.
It added that they would focus on the exchange of experiences in the financing area and skills development for small and medium enterprises in the tourism sector.
The agreement was signed in a ceremony presided over by Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas and Kazakh Culture and Sports Minister Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, who also serves as the government’s tourism affairs coordinator.
Both men stressed the importance of the agreements signed in different areas during Vargas’ three-day stay in the Central Asian nation, a trip that has been organized as part of the Dominican Republic’s participation in the Expo 2017 Astana international exhibition, which will be held under the theme “Future Energy” and run from June 10 to Sept. 10.
Vargas said the Dominican Republic had made it a priority to strengthen bilateral relations with Kazakhstan.
He also stressed the country’s willingness to share its experience in the tourism sector, the biggest source of hard currency for the Caribbean nation.
Vargas said his country received nearly 6 million tourists in 2016 but that its goal was to increase that number to 10 million by 2020.
He also noted that a total of 4,500 Kazakh citizens traveled last year to the Dominican Republic, a number he said would likely increase in 2017.
For his part, Mukhamediuly said the agreements would benefit both countries and highlighted the tourism accord in particular, adding that Kazakhstan was eager to learn from the Dominican Republic in further developing its own tourism industry.
Kazakhstan has set a target of receiving around 8 million visitors annually by 2025, a goal that the minister said could be achieved by following the Dominican Republic’s example.