Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Villages, Disadvantaged Areas, and Transmigration (PDTT) Ministry expects the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to build collaboration to develop tourist villages.

ASEAN members can develop cross-sectoral, transnational collaboration within the ASEAN region to create joint pilot projects in the coming year, Village Development Director General at the Ministry Sugito noted through a statement on Friday.

Every country is expected to be able to determine three locations for joint pilot projects to develop tourist villages, joint learning, and joint tourism package formulation between countries in ASEAN, he remarked.

The ministry serves as the focal point for Indonesia Senior Official Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE) held under ASEAN's flag, he explained.

Within the Regional Forum on Village Resources Management and Poverty Eradication, he expects that Indonesia is capable of accommodating village issues, especially ones related to tourist village development in Indonesia, in particular, and in the ASEAN in general.

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Through this forum, ASEAN countries can develop cross-sectoral collaboration by involving all stakeholders in the development of tourist villages, Sugito remarked.

Through strong collaboration, he also expects villages to synergize and be competitive that provides contribution for both the country and ASEAN.

During the event, he also highlighted that Indonesia has 74,961 villages with diverse topographies.

In addition, the population growth rate continues to increase by 1.1 percent annually.

This poses quite a major challenge in the efforts to eradicate poverty to meet the demand of the population and ensure prosperity of the people.

Tourism is one of the sectors that can bolster Indonesia's economic growth to eradicate poverty, Sugito noted.

As quoted from the ASEAN website, SOMRDPE is a subsidiary body of the AMRDPE (ASEAN Ministers Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication) comprising senior officials in the respective ministries in-charge of rural development and poverty eradication.

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Translator: Zubi Mahrofi, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Suharto
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