ECO COUNTRIES EMPHASIZE ON ENHANCING COOPERATION IN TOURISM

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 02 (DNA) – The Economic Cooperation Organization countries have emphasized on enhancing cooperation in all forms of tourism for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

The national parliamentary delegates from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan attended in person while Hon. MPs from Iran and Turkmenistan participated virtually.

A joint statement adopted at the concluding session of the General Conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of ECO in Islamabad Wednesday said that the member states must pool their resources to build the capacity of local communities through education and training of their population, especially in livelihoods connected to tourism.

It also stressed the need for promoting religious, cultural, and health tourism through enhanced connectivity and development of infrastructure and institutions in the tourist industry of all member states.

All member states also reiterated the importance of sustainable eco-tourism, which is both a powerful source of perpetual poverty alleviation as well as environmental conservation for coming generations. The statement said elimination of terrorism is a key to ensuring security in our region which is vital to attract and develop our tourist industries.

The key recommendations of the session are include: i. We recognize the fact that our common heritage viz a viz the historical silk route and enormously beautiful geography gives the ECO region enormous potential as an international tourist destination; ii. ECO country governments must cooperate in all forms of Tourism, which remains as a great driver of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

We must pool our resources to build the capacity of local communities through education and training of our population especially in livelihoods connected to tourism; iii. ECO states must promote religious, cultural and health tourism, which will be possible through enhanced connectivity and development of infrastructure and institutions in the tourist industry of all member states; iv.

Elimination of terrorism is key to ensuring security in our region, which is vital to attract and develop our tourist industries; v. Promotion of tourism in all of its legal forms should remain the core focus, both of our national policies on promoting tourism locally as well as regionally within the ECO region, to make it a preferred choice of international tourists; vi. All member states also reiterated the importance of sustainable eco-tourism, which is both a powerful source of perpetual poverty alleviation as well as environmental conservation for our coming generations; and vii.

We urge and call upon the Executive Council of ECO to formulate a JOINT WORKING GROUP/ COMMMITTEE of Members of Parliament so that an institutional arrangement can be established for the joint sharing of resources of the PAECO member states, in the next one year, in the overall context of ADVANCING TOURISM FOR DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION. = DNA

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