Economic Cooperation Organization

The inaugural ECO Tour Operators Forum commenced in Baku on May 2, 2024.
Hosted by the Azerbaijan State Tourism Agency, the forum opened with a session titled ‘Tourism in the ECO Region: Opportunities and Challenges’.

In his address, ECO Secretary General Ambassador Khusrav Noziri extended gratitude to Azerbaijani authorities for their support of ECO initiatives and for hosting this inaugural meeting of the Forum. He outlined ECO’s key activities and priorities in tourism, referencing initiatives like ECO Tourism Capitals, exemplified by Shahrisabz being officially awarded as the ECO Tourism Capital for 2024. Ambassador Noziri also highlighted tourism growth data in the ECO region and Azerbaijan’s advancements in tourism. He stressed the Forum’s significance in enhancing private sector and local community involvement in tourism, aligning with the ECO Vision 2025. Moreover, he emphasized the Forum’s role in strengthening the activities and outputs of the ECO Tour Operators Network, which has over 350 members since its establishment in 2022.

During the session, Mr. Kenan Gasimov, Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijan State Tourism Agency, highlighted Azerbaijan’s efforts in tourism and the country’s objectives for future development of the sector. Additionally, Mr. Ahmad Gurbanov, Deputy Chairman of the Association of Travel Agencies of Azerbaijan, shared insights on the role of travel agencies in tourism development in Azerbaijan and relations with other ECO Member States. The Forum, organized for the first time, continued with panel discussions after the opening session.