The most important and large-scale event of these days in Uzbekistan was the 22nd meeting of the SCO / Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of States held in Samarkand under the chairmanship of Uzbekistan.
As a result of the SCO summit, the member countries signed more than 40 conceptual and strategic documents that will help realize the huge potential of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
One of the issues on the extensive agenda of the SCO summit was the expansion of cooperation in the field of tourism, which is not an accident. Today, the space of the SCO has a huge tourism market and covers 44% of the population of the world. The total cultural heritage of the SCO member states, observers and partners makes the total of 207 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are of particular importance in the development of tourism and have attracted tourists from all over the world for centuries.
High interest and consolidation of the SCO member states in dynamic development of the tourism sector has become an important part of the current 22nd summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Taking into account the rich historical and cultural heritage of the member states, tourism is becoming one of the important priorities of cooperation of SCO member states.
During the 22nd summit of SCO member states, the Samarkand Declaration has been adapted by the parties, which reflects strengthening cooperation in the tourism field.
At the same time, Uzbekistan makes substantial contribution to the expansion and development of the tourism industry in the span of SCO region, since our country carries a great cultural, historical and civilizational heritage.
At the 22nd summit of the SCO held in Samarkand, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev outlined the tourism dimension as one of the priorities of cooperation during his speech.
Various significant documents in the sphere of tourism cooperation between SCO member states were signed, which include the following:
“Agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in the field of tourism"
"Memorandum on cooperation in the field of museum business between the SCO member states"
Also, the city of Varansa (India) received the status of the tourism and cultural capital of the SCO in 2022-2023.
The president of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev also initiated to declare 2023 as the Year of Tourism Development in the SCO space. At the same time, Iran’s entry into the SCO and granting the Arab states of the Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar the status of a dialogue partner of the SCO have become a bright decisions taken during the summit, which would expand the geography of tourism.
As a part of its chairmanship, another initiative of Uzbekistan during the summit was to propose to launch an annual regional SCO tourism forum. The proposal was greeted with a strong support of the member states. The main goal of the proposal was to develop joint initiatives between the member states to develop the tourism potential of the SCO space and its members. Designing and creating combined tours and cross-border tourism exchange between the countries, identifying the issue and finding resolution to the problems and obstacles in domestic tourism in the SCO space are another advantage of the current initiative. As a result of the support of Uzbekistan’s proposal, the first Forum has been agreed to be held in March 2023 in Bukhara.
Additionally, promoting gastronomic, health, pilgrimage, winter, mountain, agro-, ethno- and ecotourism in the SCO member state regions, developing archaeological and other types of tourism have also been discussed.
The Samarkand SCO Summit demonstrated the importance of expanding practical cooperation in the field of tourism between the member states, thus developing the economy and interregional interconnectedness of our countries, as well as expanding intercultural dialogue and strengthening good neighborliness in the SCO space.
Organizing the SCO summit in the city of Samarkand will definitely promote Uzbekistan’s tourism, including the historical attractions and monuments of Samarkand on high-scale level. The event highlights not only the tourist sights and destinations of Uzbekistan on international level, but also demonstrates the progress attained and the efforts applied in the development of infrastructure, economy, and foreign policy and broadcasts it to the audience of the worldwide.