Tourism ecosystem for high-spending tourists to be created in CAREC countries
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Apr. 26
By Nargiz Sadikhova - Trend:
The CAREC Tourism Strategy will focus on building up the foundations of the tourism ecosystem to attract high-spending tourists from international markets, the official at Asian Development Bank told Trend.
The CAREC Tourism Strategy is guided by an implementation arrangement that follows a three phased approach, the official said.
In the initial phase, from 2021 to 2023, there will be regional interventions focusing on domestic and intra-regional tourism. In the second phase, from 2024 to 2028, the focus will be on attracting high-spending international markets through improvements in air connectivity and development of joint tourism products and multi-country experiences. The last phase, from 2029-onwards, will consider expansion towards secondary destinations beyond the priority regional tourism clusters.
"This implementation arrangement will be complemented by the regional tourism investment framework that elaborates a list of potential regional projects and initiatives. The current investment framework, which has been prepared for 2021 to 2025, will serve an input in deciding the prioritization of projects, and it will be revised depending on the changing needs of member countries," the official said.
The implementation also rests on an institutional structure which currently comprises a focal points group with tourism officials and technical experts from the eleven CAREC countries, and will grow to include other new agencies and private sector representatives in the future, the official noted.
For 2021, there is ongoing work for launching the CAREC Tourism Portal in the coming months, the official said.
"The portal aims at supporting countries’ tourism promotion efforts through the common umbrella brand "Visit Silk Road" and will help generate business opportunities for the private sector in CAREC countries and attract more tourists to the region. As part of the implementation of the tourism strategy, a pilot to develop common health and safety protocols and standards for tourism in the Almaty-Bishkek Economic Corridor area has also been initiated in 2021," the bank said.
The Tourism Strategy, as mentioned above, includes a phased implementation strategy. In the short term, that is in its first phase, the strategy will focus on development of domestic and intra-regional tourism. This is taking into account the impact of COVID-19 which has changed tourist preferences towards closer and safer destinations.
"In the medium and long run, the strategy will focus on building up the foundations of the tourism ecosystem to attract high-spending tourists from international markets. This stage will include measures to improve connectivity, infrastructure, and regulatory procedures in the priority tourism clusters," the official said.
The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a partnership of 11 countries and development partners working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. It is guided by the overarching vision of "Good Neighbors, Good Partners, and Good Prospects.
The member countries are Afghanistan; Azerbaijan; China; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Pakistan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan.
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