Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies said they will target having a million students participate in an intra-APEC university level students exchange program by 2020 in an effort to promote more people to people contact in the region.

The commitment was made during the Bali Declaration made on Tuesday at the end of APEC Leaders Meeting session in Nusa Dua, Bali.

"We, the leaders endorse the target of 1 million intra-APEC university-level students per year by 2020, as well as support further work that will be done to enhance the mobility of students, researchers, and education providers, and boost the network of existing bilateral agreements," the statement said.

The APEC Leaders also agreed to work further on the Travel Facilitation Initiative as a way to promote tourism and facilitate business, by making travel more accessible, convenient and more efficient, as well as safe and secure.

The declaration also included a commitment to develop programs that will encourage greater and regular involvement of youth in APEC, so as to foster a sense of community and shared responsibility to contribute to the growth of the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC nations are host to 40 percent of world`s population and support for a greater people-to-people connectivity is expected to fuel economic growth in the region.

Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu had earlier stated than an easier visa application process among the APEC member countries would generate an additional 1.8 to 2.6 million jobs in the region.

Pangestu added that an easier visa application process would help make travel across Asia-Pacific easier for 38 million to 57 million people during the next two years and generate an estimated revenue of US$62 million to US$89 million for the APEC member economies.

"Considering this opportunity and as the host of the APEC meeting this year, Indonesia has proposed the idea of easing the visa application process in the region," the minister said.

Reporter: Amie Fenia Arimbi
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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