The 1st Forum of ECO Heads of Tourism Associations, Unions and other Tourism Stakeholders was held in virtual format on 20th June, 2022 under the chairmanship of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC). The event was attended by delegates from the ECO countries including private stakeholders and members of Tourism Associations from Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tأ¼rkiye, Uzbekistan and public representatives from the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan.
In his opening remarks Mr Aftab ur Rehman, Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) emphasized importance of tourism in the socio-economic development of the region and expanding people-to-people contacts.
In his inaugural remarks Deputy Secretary General of ECO, Ambassador Jandos Asanov said that the year 2021 was a milestone stage in the history of ECO ,“ two summits of heads of state and government were held. And at the 15th summit of ECO the member-states urged to take speedy measures in coping with serious challenges of the ECO tourism industry arising from Covid-19 pandemic in line with other regional and global post-COVID initiatives.
DSG J.Asanov maintained that the current Chairmanship of the organization ,“ the Republic of Uzbekistan declared the year 2022 as the Year of Connectivity. Uzbekistan, particularly, proposes to adopt at the Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Bukhara in 2022 a regional programme on developing a safe tourism in the post-pandemics period and pays attention to development of pilgrimage tourism and other joint tourist products, widening of geography of aviation links, development of tourist infrastructure.
Presentations by the participants about tourism potential and historic sites of the member-states as well as the activities of tourism organizations in the region were interesting and mutually enriching.
The decision by the Republic of Kazakhstan to grant to the citizens of Iran 14-day visa free stay in Kazakhstan was hailed by the participants of the event as an exemplary step in increasing tourism flows in the region.
Stemming from the tasks and targets set by the ECO member-states in achieving common objectives in the field of tourism the 1st Forum of ECO Heads of Tourism Associations, Unions and other Tourism Stakeholders decided to set up a Tour Operators’ Network of the Economic Cooperation Organization, which initially will be coordinated by the ECO Secretariat.