Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, special assistant to prime minister (SAPM) has committed to take lead in the collaborative endeavour of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to flourish tourism for poverty alleviation.
She was addressing a special session on, ‘Advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation’ as keynote speaker at the second conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of Economic Cooperation Organisation (PAECO) countries. The session brought together PAECO delegates from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
In a special session, the members of the national parliaments of the ECO issued a joint statement to cooperate on poverty alleviation.
Reiterating Pakistan’s resolve to flourishing tourism for poverty alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar declared that Pakistan will take the lead in this collaborative endeavour. She emphasised the promotion of tourism across the ECO region in all its legal forms.
The delegates of ECO countries jointly reaffirmed to cooperate on various aspects of common aspirations in advancing tourism for development and poverty alleviation. The member countries urged and called upon Executive Council of ECO to formulate a joint working group/committee 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.
Member states put forth recommendations on recognisng the common heritage viz`-a-viz` the historical silk route and enormously beautiful geography that gives ECO region enormous potential as an international tourist destination. They agreed that ECO country governments will cooperate in all forms of tourism, which remains a great driver of sustainable development and poverty alleviation. They will, therefore, pool their resources to build the capacity of local communities through education and training of the population especially in livelihoods connected to tourism. Further, ECO states affirmed that they would promote religious, cultural, and health tourism through enhanced connectivity and development of infrastructure and institutions in the tourist industry of all member states. Delegates from ECO states also urged upon elimination of terrorism for ensuring security in the region, which is vital to attract and develop tourist industries.
The joint statement also committed that the promotion of tourism in all of its legal forms would remain the core focus, both of national policies on promoting tourism locally as well as regionally within the ECO region, to make it a preferred choice of international tourists. 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 their coming generations. During the session, enlightening speeches were delivered by the distinguished delegates on addressing tourism in the ECO region viz a viz development of essential infrastructure and promoting partnerships for capacity building and poverty alleviation.
The eminent speakers included Shinkai Karokhail, Member of Parliament Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan; Malahat Ibrahimgizi, Deputy Chair of the Parliament Committee on Labour and Social Policy, Azerbaijan; Dr. Seyed Ehsan Khandouzi, Vice Chairman of the Parliament Economic Committee; Mynbay Darkhan, Kamzabekuly, Parliament Committee on Social and Cultural Development, Kazakhstan; Fattohzoda Saidmurod, Chair of the Parliament Committee on International Affairs, Public Associations, and Information, Tajikistan; G. Rozyyev, Chairman of Parliament Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth Policy, Turkmenistan; Ceyda Bolunmez Erkin Cankiri, Member of Parliament, Turkey; Zohidov Erkin Azamovich, Chairman of the Parliament Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Sports, Uzbekistan; and Mohammad Tayyab Ata, Member of the Upper House of Afghanistan.
Concluding the session, Dr. Sania paid profound gratitude to the ECO delegates for their joint declaration to promote parliamentary partnerships for the poverty elimination and development of tourism.
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