New Delhi, India: The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)’s Tourism Ministers’ Meeting is all set to be held in India at the first cultural capital of the SCO, Kashi, Varanasi, on March 17-18. The SCO Tourism Ministers meeting looks at the adoption of the Tourism Joint Action Plan, which provides for the development of cooperation in Tourism among SCO countries.
Before the meeting, the second Tourism Expert Working Group meeting was held on March 14-14, where the dignitaries discussed and finalized the Tourism Joint Action before its adoption during the Tourism Minister Meeting. Moreover, they discussed the actions for the promotion of the SCO Tourism brand, cultural heritage, exchange of information and digital technology in tourism and cooperation in medical and health tourism.
Notably, the SCO consists of 8 member nations, which constitute 42% of the world population and one-fourth of the global GDP, which is a reflective of the immense potential tapped in the region. Moreover, it can be enhanced further with increasing awareness. The total cultural heritage of the SCO member states and partners include 207 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Therefore, in a bid to promote this unique product of the region, the SCO countries designate one city from every SCO member nation as tourism and cultural capital every year in a rotational format. Kashi, Varanasi, is the first cultural capital of SCO.
The SCO is an Intergovernmental organization which was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, and currently has eight member nations, including – China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Other than these, four observer states which look on to full membership include Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, along with six dialogue partners including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.