Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Tourism Ministers’ meeting starts in Varanasi
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The two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Tourism Ministers’ meeting began on Friday in Varanasi with a likely joint action plan on the development of cooperation in tourism to be adopted during the gathering.

The plan will include promotion of the cultural heritage of the SCO member states, promotion of the SCO tourism brand, sharing and exchange of information and digital technology in tourism. India is the current chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Union Minister for Tourism G. Kishan Reddy is leading the Indian delegation in the meeting.

The SCO is a political and economic organisation consisting of eight member countries — China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan and four observer countries. In terms of population and geographical scope, it is the world’s largest regional organisation, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia and 40% of the world population.

There are a total of 207 UNESCO World Heritage Sites under SCO member states, observers and partners. Under a new initiative, SCO member countries decided to designate one city as cultural and tourism capital every year under a rotating initiative. Kashi (Varanasi) has been designated as the first cultural capital of the organisation.

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