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Dushanbe, Tajikistan – Meeting with the President of Tajikistan, H.E: Emomali Rahmon, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, underlined the importance of regional cooperation in the growth and development of national economies. Referring to the UNWTO Silk Road Project, a long-term initiative to harness the tourism potential of the ancient Silk Road, Mr. Rifai called for the continued collaboration of all participating countries. The meeting was held in the framework of the Secretary-General’s first official visit to Tajikistan (3-6 May 2010), a UNWTO member state since 2007.
“Regional cooperation is key to harnessing the tourism potential of Central Asia. The Silk Road is a concept that requires cooperation beyond individual borders and is an excellent example of such cooperation”, said the UNWTO Secretary-General. “Tajikistan is an important stop along the Silk Road and is working with other countries to convert this resource into an integrated tourism product.”
The official visit also focuses on providing assistance to Tajikistan in the creation of a tourism development plan that would draw attention to and develop Tajikistan’s unique mountain nature and cultural assets. Mr. Rifai has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E: Hamrokhon Zarifi and the Minister of Finance, H.E: Safarali Najmiddinov, to direct efforts towards developing a modern and competitive tourism sector in Tajikistan.