The first meeting of tourism-specialized educational institutions from Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member nations is being held in Baku on December 4–5, jointly coordinated by the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan and the ECO.

Official representatives of states and representatives of tourism educational institutions from nine OEC member countries, including Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Pakistan, will attend the meeting, as will representatives from the UN World Tourism Organization.

Speaking at the event, Fuad Naghiyev, Chairman of the State Tourism Agency, stated that human resources and a skilled workforce are two of the most important variables impacting tourism development.

He also stated that the major purpose of tourism education is to provide human capital with the knowledge and skills required for all tourist sub-sectors.

Tens of thousands of people are currently employed in Azerbaijan’s tourism sector, according to Naghiyev.

However, given the industry’s ongoing development, he believes that highly qualified, well-trained, and talented individuals in the tourist sector are in high demand.

The official further stated that the Karabakh University, which will be formed in the liberated areas as a result of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s decision, will contain tourism-related specialties.

In his speech, ECO Secretary-General Khusrav Noziri underlined the importance of tourism education collaboration in the development of regional tourism.

In this light, he stated that the first gathering of educational institutions from ECO member countries on tourism is an important occasion.

 

Noziri also emphasized the recent work done in Azerbaijan’s tourism sector and its rich potential, and mentioned that the city of Shusha was chosen as the tourism capital at the VII Meeting of High-Level Tourism Experts and the V Meeting of Tourism Ministers in Ardabil this October.

A bilateral meeting between Naghiyev and Noziri took place on the occasion.

Panel discussions will take place on subjects such as “State, education, and industry collaboration: best practices in tourism education,” “Curriculum development: enhancing tourism education for future demand,” and “Innovation and technology: new trends in tourism education.”

Presentations from higher education institutes that provide tourism education will also be highlighted.

The second day of the event is scheduled to hold roundtable discussions on expanding partnership opportunities in tourism education among ECO member countries and creating a unified network of tourism education institutions.

The event is also scheduled to culminate in the adoption of the “Baku Declaration,” reflecting the intention to develop cooperation in various areas of tourism education and to hold similar meetings regularly.