From 7 to 9 September 2018, Qingdao hosted the 2018 World Tourism Cities Federation's Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit. The theme of the summit was ‘Orient Industry Trends, Brand Tourism Cities.' Deputy SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Potapenko took part in the event.
SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov sent his greetings to the participants, noting the need for continued fruitful bilateral and multilateral cooperation in tourism in the interests of mutual enrichment among nations and their rapprochement. This would be in line with the decisions made at the June 2018 meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in Qingdao. In his message to the participants, Mr Alimov underscored the tremendous potential for tourism within the SCO region, which accounts for 44 percent of the world's population and also boasts a rich history, ancient civilisations, multi-ethnic cultures and traditions. This provides a sound basis and a broad platform for further expansion of the tourist industry. Mr Alimov added that the SCO was open for cooperation with the World Tourism Cities Federation, global, regional and other organisations in the field of tourism.
About 400 representatives from 59 countries, 112 tourism cities and over 200 tourist companies, as well as international organisations, including the UN took part in the 2018 World Tourism Cities Federation Qingdao Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit.
The World Tourism Cities Federation was established in September 2012 on the initiative of Beijing. It includes over 130 well-known tourism cities, as well as organisations and agencies implementing tourism projects. This is the first international tourism organisation in history that specialises in city tourism. Helsinki, Finland, is to host subsequent events of the summit.
The SCO Secretariat and the World Tourism Cities Federation established partnership relations in 2017.