On 3 September 2019, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov held a meeting with General Manager of Tencent Culture & Tourism Shu Zhan on the sidelines of the World Tourism Cities Federation Summit (WTCF) in Helsinki.
Vladimir Norov praised Tencent Culture & Tourism for creating a number of smart tourism projects over a short period of time and successfully implementing them in popular tourism cities.
He noted that in the rapidly advancing digital age, Tencent, which is an internet giant with a huge user base, can have a substantial impact on digitalising the economy and improving the quality of life.
Vladimir Norov introduced Shu Zhan to the SCO's goals, objectives and activities in depth and emphasised that today the SCO region is becoming a territory of rapidly developing economies with a huge market potential.
The meeting focused on expanding cooperation in e-commerce, digitalisation and innovation within the SCO. "During the Bishkek summit this year, SCO heads of state approved a Concept of Cooperation in Digitalisation and Information and Communications Technology the aim of which is to increase the SCO member states' global competitive abilities and digital transformation of their national economies by introducing innovation and modern ICTs," Vladimir Norov added.
Tencent Culture & Tourism General Manager was informed about the tourism benefits of the SCO countries as well as the SCO Secretariat's Eight SCO Wonders initiative.
Vladimir Norov expressed hope that Tencent Culture & Tourism will soon get involved in ambitious tourism cooperation across the vast Eurasian territory.
The SCO Secretary-General suggested that his counterpart consider the opportunity of enhancing cooperation with the SCO member states for the purpose of developing tourism through digital technology and the internet, smart tourism innovation in SCO cities, joint projects in the field of tourism infrastructure and cultural site digitalisation, providing smart services to tourists as well as implementing online payment platforms, etc.
Shu Zhan spoke at length about his company's activities, the aim of which is to build cultural and tourist dialogue through implementing the digital economy + tourism model.
Tencent Culture & Tourism General Manager specifically mentioned the company's projects, Touring Yunnan with One Cell Phone and Traveller's Backpack "Helsinki", that are closely coordinated with the municipal authorities of China's Yunnan province and Helsinki, respectively. "The successful implementation of these programmes resulted in a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting these administrative regions. They
are adding digital technology elements to conventional tourism and offering a whole range of smart services, which makes tourism more comfortable, accessible and appealing," the General Manager commented.
Shu Zhan highly appreciated the role and prospects of the SCO in globalisation and sustainable development, and expressed willingness to build cooperation with partners from the member states. He said that Tencent Culture & Tourism is ready to assist in promoting smart tourism in the SCO, including through developing and implementing internet platforms and mobile apps.
The General Manager also supported the idea of working out a joint action plan between his company and the SCO Secretariat.
Tencent Culture & Tourism is a business brand launched by Tencent as a measure for adaptation to the development of the digital economy in China and the integration of the tourism industry.