Samarkand in Uzbekistan was on October 17 designated "World Capital of Cultural Tourism" by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) at the opening of the 25th session of its General Assembly in the city.
In parallel, an accord was signed to establish an International Academy of Tourism in the city. Such a centre was opened in Saudi Arabia in September.
The agreement was inked by Uzbekistan's Minister of Ecology, Environment Protection and Climate Change, Abdulaziz Abduhakimov, and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
The UNWTO General Assembly is taking place from October 16 to 20 at the "Silk Road Samarkand" tourist complex.
Uzbekistan won the bid to host the event, beating competitors Portugal and Egypt for the privilege.
Over 130 countries are represented at the gathering. The agenda includes an international investment forum, an international educational forum, an award ceremony for the "Best Tourist Villages," and several plenary sessions and cultural events.
Representatives from Iran’s WTO delegation have promoted their historical connections with Persian-speaking Samarkand in Uzbek-majority Uzbekistan. Members of the Iranian government outlined plans to boost tourism with car and bus transport connections to the city, located on the southern border of Uzbekistan, around 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) from the nearest Iranian city, Mashhad. Soviet rule brought years of disconnection between Iranians and ethnic-minority kinsmen in Samarkand.
Samarkand, which was a pivotal city on the ancient Silk Road and served as a capital of the Timurid Empire during the 14th and 15th centuries, is one of Asia's most significant cultural and tourist hubs.
Known for its rich history, architectural marvels, and cultural heritage, the city attracts numerous global tourists interested in its historical narrative and cultural aesthetics.
The prestigious status of "World Capital of Cultural Tourism" signifies that Samarkand has won international recognition as a vital centre for cultural tourism.
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