The presence of Pakistan's pavilion to promote the country at an international travel and tourism event held in Greater Noida near Delhi piqued the curiosity of several visitors.
People mostly enquired about the country's tourist destinations, tourism potential and cultural heritage, said an official at the Pakistan pavilion at the SCO Tourism Mart.
Part of the Shanghai Corporation Organisation (SCO), Pakistan and several other countries showcased their tourism products as well as cultural heritage at the event held as part of activities under India's presidency of the grouping.
Pakistan participated in the SCO Tourism Mart, from Feb 9-11 in Greater Noida, India. A pavilion was set up to showcase 🇵🇰 tourism potential, and provide information and resource material on 🇵🇰 Pak culture, travel & tourism. pic.twitter.com/YOynjF0WXu— Pakistan High Commission India (@PakinIndia) February 11, 2023
The Tourism Mart, organised by the South Asia's Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE), was inaugurated by Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy on February 9 and it culminated on February 11.
The international event as part of SATTE's 30th edition saw the participation of around 50 countries, including China and Pakistan, and 28 states of India.
India holds the presidency of the SCO for the year 2023 and as part of tourism track activities, the Union Ministry of Tourism has planned various events and meetings, according to officials.
These activities included the SCO Tourism Mart organised as part of SATTE from February 9 to February 11.
The officials said that a SCO Expert Level Tourism Working Group Meeting and a SCO Tourism Minister's Meeting in Varanasi from February 13 to February 17, and a SCO Food Festival in Mumbai from April 13 to April 19 are also part of the activities.
During a press interaction, Yogesh Mudras, managing director for Informa Markets in India, which organised SATTE, said, "It (the Pakistan pavilion) was present as part of the SCO Tourism Mart." India conceptualised the SCO Tourism Mart along with SATTE to promote the SCO brand of tourism, according to an official statement, This will provide an opportunity to member countries, observer countries and dialogue partners of the SCO fraternity to showcase their varied tourism products and cultural aspects, it said.
The statement also noted that "India attaches special importance to the SCO in promoting multilateral political, security, economic and people-to-people interaction in the region".
"The SCO pavilion will provide a common business space, a common promotional space, a common cultural space for the SCO fraternity aiming to bring in greater bonding and bigger cohesiveness in promoting SCO tourism as a brand," it said.
The just-concluded event was open only for the business community and industry stakeholders, with several visitors making a curious stopover at the Pakistan pavilion.
Officials at the pavilion informed them about the country's tourism potential not only in terms of varied topography such as mountains and valleys but also the presence of Sikh and Hindu cultural heritage.
"We are here as part of the SCO Tourism Mart as being a member country of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation," an official present at the Pakistan pavilion told PTI, declining to comment further as he was not authorised to talk to the press.
The SCO comprises eight member countries -- China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, three observer states -- Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia, and 14 dialogue partners -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka Turkey, UAE, Kuwait, Maldives, Bahrain, Myanmar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to the statement.
The core eight member countries of the SCO represent around 42 per cent of the world population and 25 per cent of the global GDP, it added.
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