On 3 September 2019, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov met with Ms Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairperson of WTCF Council and Vice Mayor of the City of Beijing, on the sidelines of the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) held in Helsinki.
The SCO Secretary-General said how much he appreciated Beijing's idea of the WTCF and the federation's activities to consolidate the member cities' efforts to promote better city life through tourism.
"Over a period of seven years since its establishment, the WTCF has greatly expanded the spheres of its operations and has enhanced its international prestige, becoming an attractive platform for monitoring the latest tourism trends and mapping out practical measures to promote tourism. The success of the federation's eighth summit has shown that Beijing's initiative was a correct and strategically wise decision," Vladimir Norov noted.
He added that the role played by tourism in socioeconomic progress is encouraging the search for deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in this sphere. In this context, he pointed out the efforts being taken to implement the Programme for the Development of Cooperation between the SCO Member States in Tourism and a relevant Action Plan for 2019-2020.
"The latest trends on the global tourism market, especially that rapid development of high technologies and the intellectual industry, require the development of a common tourism space by the SCO countries," Vladimir Norov said.
The SCO Secretary-General recalled that only 43 cities out of the 218 WTCF members are located in the SCO countries, and 29 of these are in China.
Vladimir Norov expressed hope that Beijing as the driver of bringing together the world's tourism cities and creating the WTCF will help attract more cities in the SCO countries to the federation's activities in order to jointly look for possible forms of collective activities and prosperity in the sphere of tourism.
Vice Mayor of the City of Beijing Wang Hong said she shared the opinions of the SCO Secretary-General. She also praised the SCO's multifaceted activities and its achievements in the strengthening of regional stability and in the improvement of living standards in the SCO countries.
The Vice Mayor thanked the SCO Secretariat for supporting the WTCF. Ms Wang Hong expressed confidence that the number of cities members of the WTCF would grow. "Beijing is ready to help boost active cooperation with cities in the SCO countries in an effort to deepen the multifaceted cultural and humanitarian dialogue through tourism," she said.
Vladimir Norov expressed gratitude to the Beijing City Hall for the support and assistance it invariably provides to the SCO Secretariat.
The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is an international NGO. It was established in September 2012 at the initiative of the Beijing City Hall. The WTCF headquarters are located in the Chinese capital.
The federation has 218 members, including 145 member cities, as well as 73 tourism organisations and companies.
The federation strives to provide its members with services spanning the entire tourism chain, as well as promoting experience of the development of tourism cities, products and resources, and the growth of the tourism industry in general.