Ministers of Tourism of the SCO Member States to discuss new stages of cooperation in tourism and cultural heritage
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 20 May 2022, the international forum "A new stage of cooperation between the SCO countries: tourism and cultural heritage" began its work in the Hilton Tashkent City Hotel in a hybrid format, timed to coincide with the Summit of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is to be held in the city of Samarkand on 15-16 September 2022.
The forum was attended by heads of tourism administrations of the SCO member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, as well as international experts on tourism development and the preservation of cultural heritage, leaders and guests of honor, representatives of ministries and the media.
The main goals of the forum are the tasks of strengthening tourism cooperation, trust, friendship and good neighborliness between the Member States; development of trade and economic cooperation, strengthening of peace and security; maintenance and preservation of cultural and historical objects; promoting the tourism potential of the SCO member states.
On the agenda was the issue of deepening cooperation on the introduction of joint combined tourist routes, as well as expanding transport and logistics opportunities in the SCO space.
At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Uzbekistan Aziz Abdukhakimov and SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming delivered a welcoming speech.
“The total cultural heritage of the SCO member states, observers and partners is 207 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are of particular importance in the development of tourism and have been attracting tourists from all over the world for centuries. In this regard, we all need to intensify efforts in cooperation between the tourism community of the SCO member states, joint promotion of the tourism product, image support and protection of tourism resources, and also direct our efforts to the development of domestic tourism in the SCO,” Aziz Abdukhakimov said.
The common space of the SCO countries stretches from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean and from Shanghai to Kaliningrad, where more than 40% of the world's population lives - this is a huge tourism market, the potential of which has not been fully realized.
In 2019, about 250 million tourists left the SCO countries for holidays abroad (China 155 million, India 27 million, Russia 20 million, Uzbekistan 1.7 million, Kazakhstan 206 thousand, Tajikistan 31 thousand), which demonstrates impressive opportunities for inbound tourism.
Uzbekistan is the center of the Great Silk Road, has attracted the attention of travelers from all over the world since ancient times and is recognized as one of the most attractive and intriguing destinations by many foreign publications. The country occupies ever higher positions in international rankings - The New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Global Muslim Travel Index, National Geographic Traveler Awards, Lonely Planet and others.
There are 8.4 thousand cultural heritage sites in Uzbekistan, 209 of them are part of four museum cities (“Ichan Kala in the city of Khiva”, “Historic center of the city of Bukhara”, “Historical center of the city of Shakhrisabz” and “Samarkand - crossroads of cultures”) which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.