Remarks by the SCO Secretary-General V. Norov at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Tourism Cities Federation Fragrant Hills Summit

Publish Time:2019-09-03 16:26:06Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:The SCO Secretariat confirms its readiness to further deepen cooperation with the Federation and all friendly countries...


Remarks by the SCO Secretary-General V. Norov at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Tourism Cities Federation Fragrant Hills Summit


Dear Mayor of Helsinki, Mr. Jan Vapaavouori,

Dear Ms. Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairperson of WTCF Council and Vice Mayor of the City of Beijing

Dear guests and friends,

First of all, I would like to thank the leadership of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and the Mayor of the City of Helsinki for the invitation to participate in such a prestigious event.

It is a great honor for me to take part in the 8th World Tourism Cities Federation Fragrant Hills Summit in Helsinki in the capital of Finland, which in a short period of time has become an important platform for exchange of experience and development of new ideas for the advancement of international tourism.

For the first time as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, I visited Helsinki on 5th December 2008 to participate in the OSCE Ministerial Meeting. Over the years, the Finnish capital has become a universally recognized leader in tourism among European countries. Therefore, your city deservedly took first place in the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 competition, organized by the European Commission. Chinese internet giant Tencent has also chosen Helsinki as a partner city for the popular WeChat messenger, which now has over 960 million users.

Today, cities are beginning to play an increasingly important role in the tourism industry. The world has become more accessible for tourists, and cities have become centers of attraction for millions of travelers. The strong ties established between cities, countries, regions and continents have allowed increase of tourist flows many times.

Therefore, on a global scale, tourism today continues to demonstrate high dynamics of development.

An increasing number of countries consider the development of this sector as an important segment of the national economy and a strategic incentive to increase the competitiveness of the state.

The development of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of tourism is one of the main priorities of the SCO. Therefore, in order to develop tourism and intercultural relations in the SCO region and beyond, our Organization has established close cooperation with UNESCO, World Tourism Organization and World Tourism Cities Federation, which has played a stimulating role in promoting tourism exchanges along the "One Belt - One Road" corridor, has also contributed to the development of tourism in the vast Eurasian space.

Following the principles of "Shanghai Spirit" - mutual trust, mutual benefit and equality, respect for diversity of cultures, desire for joint development - the member states of the Organization strive to form a strategy for the development of tourism on the basis of established cultural, historical and economic ties, and common tourist space. All this contributes to the growth of tourist exchanges, creation of new jobs, improvement of living standards and quality of life of citizens. As a result, mutual understanding, friendship and mutual respect among the peoples of our countries are strengthened.

The SCO region's tourism potential - from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean and from Shanghai to Kaliningrad - is huge and covers 44% of the world's population. The SCO member states have 143 cultural and historical monuments and natural attractions that have been included in the treasury of the world cultural heritage.

In accordance with the SCO Programme and Joint Action Plan for 2019-2020 for the Development of Cooperation among Member States in the field of tourism, a set of measures is being implemented to improve safety, infrastructure and quality of tourism services, attract investments and introduce modern information technologies in this field.

Work is under way to expand and improve transport links and simplify visa regimes among member states, promote youth tourism, and create and promote cross-border and interregional tourist routes, including those along the Great Silk Road.

This year, with the support of the World Tourism Cities Federation and Chinese Academy of Sciences, the SCO Secretariat initiated the project "8 Wonders of the SCO", which included one tourist site from each member state. The project aims to form a single tourist route "8 Wonders of the SCO", which runs through the territory of all SCO member states. The presentation of the project has already taken place within the framework of the celebration of "SCO Day" on June 21 in Beijing, and during the International Tourism Forum in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.

Thanks to the assistance of the World Tourism Cities Federation and the Helsinki City Administration, the participants of the Fragrant Hills Summit will also be able to see the "8 Wonders of the SCO" at the stand located here.

I would also like to note that today 43 out of 145 cities of the World Tourism Cities Federation member states are located on the territory of the SCO member states.

The SCO Secretariat confirms its readiness to further deepen cooperation with the Federation and all friendly countries, regional and international organizations seeking to expand cooperation in the field of tourism in order to ensure sustainable urban development, improve people's lives, strengthen mutual understanding and respect between our countries and peoples.

In conclusion, I would like to wish all participants of the Summit fruitful work on the development of international tourism. I thank you for your attention.

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