Economic Cooperation Organization

About Tourism Directorate


Directorate for Tourism is tasked as responsible the ECO Secretariat-s body for initiation, implementation and monitoring of the ECO activities in tourism sector. This unit is the also responsible to pursue the expected outcomes envisaged under priority 4 (Tourism) of ECO Vision 2025.
Treaty of Izmir (Article II, para ‘n’) identifies to further strengthen historical and cultural ties among the peoples of the ECO region as well as exchanges in the field of tourism to enhance regional cooperation in this sphere.
In line with the above-mentioned objectives, the Directorate for Tourism is following initiatives in the below areas for promotion of tourism in the region:
• branding, marketing and promotion
• travel and tourism facilitation
• diversification of tourism products and services
• human resource and capacity building for increase of the quality of the tourism services
• quality development and harmonization of rules and procedures for sustainability of the natural and cultural environment
• digitalization
• investment generation and facilitation
• private sector and local community involvement in tourism activities
The Directorate initiated partnership with the relevant international partners, including UN World Tourism Organization, UNIDO and GSTC to ensure timely and effective achievements of the goals and objectives envisaged in the ECO Vision 2025.
Tourism potential of the ECO Region
The ECO Region is well-known for its natural beauty, as well as diversity of its historical-cultural heritage, echoing the memoires of the ancient Silk Road and home to 74 UNESCO registered World Heritage Sites. The Member Countries have a lot more to offer in terms of culture, pilgrimage, ecotourism, health and wellness, gastronomy and other types of tourism, all of which could target tourists from different parts of the world.
During the last decade, international travel to the ECO region exceeded 87 million people, holding a total of 6% share in worldwide tourism arrivals in 2019. Considering the region's potential and population, the ratio between tourist arrivals and total international tourism expenditures is still relatively modest and there is a need for increased regional cooperation to have the optimum use of all available resources to augment regional tourism. Taking these objectives in mind, tourism sector was placed among one of the ECO-s important areas of interest, prioritized for development under the ECO Vision 2025.
Unfortunately, tourism sector has remained one of the hardest hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. The estimations made by the ECO Secretariat indicate that the tourist arrivals to the region shrank by 73% in 2020 and the tourism receipts decreased by 67%. While the regional tourism experienced a mild upturn in 2021 with tourist arrivals increasing around 50% compared to 2020 when the global widespread use of vaccines boosted hopes for recovery though it was still below the 2019 levels.
Recent activities
The 4thMinisterial Meeting on Tourism was held on 13 December 2022 in virtual format under the chairmanship of Republic of Uzbekistan. The Meeting adopted Samarkand Declaration and Road Map on Facilitating Accelerated Recovery, Safe and Sustainable Development of Tourism after COVID-19 in the ECO Region as a post-COVID general framework for cooperation among the Member States.
Despite severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on holding tourism events, in recent years, ECO has introduced an inspirational and stirring tradition of selecting the cities of the Member States which have a rich historical heritage and a great tourism potential as the ECO Tourism Capital for each year to facilitate sustainable development of tourism, local economies as well as improvement of welfare and level of lives of people in the host city.
Dushanbe City of the Republic of Tajikistan was announced to be ECO Tourism Capital for 2020 and 2021. The events related to proclamation of Sari as the ECO Tourism Capital for 2022 were held on 10-11 May 2022 in Sari, Mazandaran province of Iran. Ardabil in the Islamic Republic of Iran will be declared as the ECO Tourism Capital for 2023. The 4th ECO Ministerial Meeting on Tourism selected the city of Shakhrisabz in the Republic of Uzbekistan and the city of Erzurum in the Republic of Türkiye as the ECO Tourism Capitals for the year 2024 and the year 2025 respectively.
The ECO Tour Operators- Network was established as an outcome of the 1st Forum of the ECO Heads of Tourism Associations held on 20 June 2022. Nowadays the Network unites 242 tour operators and tourism agencies from Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is a platform for sharing and refining ideas on actions, as well as a mechanism for acting together with a collective voice to promote the region through preparation of joint regional tour packages to attract the intending travelers/tourists towards various areas of tourism that could benefit all partners in tourism destinations.

Director and Staff

Mr. Jasur Rajabov (Uzbek national)
Director for Tourism
Tel: + 98 (21)-22831733-34

Ms. Aysegul Yorulmazlar (Turkish National)
Programme Officer
Tel: + 98 (21)-22831733-34

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Hadi Ghaderi (Iranian National)
Programme Officer
Tel: + 98 (21)-22831733-34

-(Pakistani national)
Tel: + 98 (21)-22831733-34
Email: –