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ECO Role of regional digital development in increasing tourism coop. in ECO

By: Mahdi Pourhasani

The meetings were hosted by the Committee of Tourism Development under the government of the Republic of Tajikistan. Delegations from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan (host), the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as the delegation of ECO Secretariat attended the meetings.

The essay is to demonstrate the relationship between the development of information and communication technology and the improvement of cooperation in tourism among ECO member states.

The increasing development of information and communication technology over the past two decades has an effect on regional and global integration and development of globalization. It has positive effects on employment in startups and innovative companies, growth, and development in technology and other sectors as well as creative fields like e-government, e-tourism and so on.

ICT network impact will depend on the level of development and digital readiness of countries and their stakeholders. It will also depend on the policies adopted and implemented at the national, regional and international levels. According to ITU 2017 Global ICT Development Index, position of ECO member state was included Kazakhstan 52, Azerbaijan 65, Turkey67, Islamic Republic of Iran81, Uzbekistan 95, Kyrgyzstan 109, Islamic Republic of Pakistan 148 and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan 159 that showed existence of digital divided between member countries but this problem could increase opportunities of ICT cooperation among these countries.

In the tourism sector, digital technology like cell phone applications, digital cameras, internet, GPS, big data, virtual reality are creating a new competitive global market and countries and companies are allowed to access the global market through advertising campaigns, market making and analyzing the global market. For instance, according to some research, VR tours are effective not only in enticing people to visit an area but in helping them plan out what they’re going to do and how they’re going to spend their time once they’re there.

The “2025 ECO Regional Strategy for Information Society Development” and proposed “Plan of Action” was agreed by a ministerial meeting in 2017 to serve as a framework for future joint activities in the field of ICT under the umbrella of ECO.

ECO region with an area of more than 8 million square kilometers and a population of around 450 million inhabitants is well-known for its natural beauties and diversity of its historical- cultural heritage.

This region has potential opportunities to further cooperation in tourism and attract foreign tourism. One of the approaches to achieve this goal is incising cooperation in information and communication technology to the improvement of IDI in this region and development of cooperation through this field such as e-healthy, e-learning, and other methods. In this regard, regional countries can support launching ECO TOURISM WEBSITE; the website should creation by the chamber of commerce of member states to introduce tourism attraction and credible company to offer e-tourism service to the ECO region at affordable prices.

As a result, access to affordable, high-speed broadband network strengthens regional cross- border digital trade and digital literacy in member state countries documented in “2025 ECO Regional strategy for information society development” has a positive effect on the development of tourism in the region and would increase the level of tourism cooperation within ECO region.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of Iblagh News.

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