On 28-29 September 2020, a delegation of the SCO Secretariat led by Deputy Secretary-General Zhang Haizhou participated in the World Cultural Tourism Conference in Xi'an (Shaanxi province), which focused on recovery, innovation and transformation of cultural tourism.
The conference centered on restoring and transforming the cultural tourism industry in the post-pandemic period, inbound tourism, and developing educational tourism according to new international standards. Conference participants exchanged opinions on searching for new opportunities and new formats for the cultural tourism industry.
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of competent international organisations (the World Tourism Cities Federation and the World Tourism Organisation), members of diplomatic missions in China, and high-ranking government officials involved in culture and tourism, as well as over 500 representatives of Chinese and foreign travel companies, agencies, and culture and tourism departments from different cities and provinces of China.
"Despite the pandemic and the restrictions in force, the SCO member states continue to cooperate in tourism and culture using the existing frameworks," Zhang Haizhou stressed in his report. The Deputy Secretary-General introduced participants to the SCO's projects in tourism, adopted documents and recently held events such as the Meeting of the Tourism Administrations Heads and the 17th Meeting of the Ministers of Culture of SCO Member States.
The Deputy Secretary-General also spoke during the plenary session on cooperation and development of cultural tourism along the Silk Road at the conference: "The SCO countries offer significant development potential when it comes to tourism and culture. The member states support the Eight Wonders of the SCO project aimed at creating a common tourist space. The project is implemented pursuant to the respective decisions of the SCO summit," Zhang Haizhou noted.
Reports were presented by Adviser on Culture and Tourism of the Turkish Embassy in China Mr. Derya, CEO of the European tourism association Mr. Tom Jenkins, head of Ctrip Institute global researching center Song Bowen and Deputy Secretary-General of the International Tourism Association Sheng Hang.
The World Cultural Tourism Conference is an annual international dialogue platform for sharing experience and discussing issues related to tourism.
This year's conference was supervised by the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and organised by the municipal government of Xi'an and Ctrip Group.