Tourism ministers from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will further enhance ties related to travel product development, tourist security and research on high-tech tourism management to build a “smart tourism” system, according to a draft action plan issued on May 9.
The tourism ministers’ conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization opened on May 9 in Wuhan, Hubei province.
It was the first meeting of SCO tourism ministers since the organization was established in 2001 in Shanghai.
The delegation leaders passed the draft of their 2019-20 Joint Action Plan for implementing an outline of tourism cooperation among SCO member states.
The draft will be submitted to the SCO summit for official signing, which will be held in Qingdao, Shandong province, in June.
“International cooperation in the area of tourism is promising, which has received more agreement than disagreement from the member states involved,” Li Jinzao, vice-minister of culture and tourism, said. “Tourism exchange thus should be regarded as one of the key parts in bilateral or multilateral cooperation.”
Li said the SCO has become a more comprehensive regional organization since India and Pakistan joined the organization in 2017.
“The total population of SCO member states amounts to nearly half the world’s population. The rich tourism resources in these countries, no matter the natural scenery or distinctive cultures, will unleash the potential of tourism development and highlight the countries’ importance in the world tourism landscape,” Li said.
Tourism delegations of SCO member states, including India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, have introduced their countries’ tourism development and proposed deepening cooperation on tourism exchanges with other member states.
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, deputy chief of mission of the Pakistan Embassy, said that SCO member states are connected in areas such as of history, culture and civilization. Tourism cooperation among member states will bring more opportunities for Pakistan’s economic development.
She said sports and medical tourism are new areas in which Pakistan will seek cooperation with China and other countries. The country also will seek cooperation in travel products related to traditional Pakistani festivals and galas to bring prosperity both to Pakistan and countries involved in exchanges.
Aziz Nosirov, SCO deputy secretary-general, said, “Developing tourism is an important way to enhance the friendship among different countries, which is also a way to help people understand different cultures. Tourism cooperation will promote the cultural exchange of countries involved.”