Development of tourism in CIS
March 18. Kazpravda. Moscow
By Olga KAZANTSEVA
In 2015, Kazakhstan will chair the Tourist Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The decision was taken at the board’s meeting held in Moscow within the frames of the International Economic Forum “CIS and new formats of cooperation.”
The International Economic Forum of CIS is an authoritative platform for dialogue to discuss various aspects of cooperation within the Commonwealth with participation of leading experts, politicians, representatives of business community of CIS and far abroad countries.
The sixth forum this time was held in the Moscow World Trade Center under the slogan of renovation and updating mechanisms for the development of integration processes. In accordance with the agenda, the participants discussed the implementation of the agreement on free trade zone and the Interstate program of innovation cooperation of CIS up to 2020 and analyzed the effectiveness of development of tourism industry in the Commonwealth.
An effective interaction model has long been formed on the CIS space for active search of optimal collaboration forms, including the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and Common Economic Space. Not far off is the accession to the Customs Union of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
The Eurasian Economic Commission is facing increasingly serious problem, – noted in his welcoming address to the participants of the Forum Chairman of the Executive Committee – CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev.
He stressed that CIS countries are carrying out systematic work on the development of integration, including implementation of the fundamental policy document in economic sphere – Commonwealth’s strategy for the period up to 2020, and almost all activities in the plan are implemented timely.
The foundation of economic cooperation between the countries of CIS, according to Lebedev is a free trade regime. Seven of eight states which signed the agreement on free trade zone have ratified it, and Tajikistan is completing this process. May 31, 2013 in Minsk a protocol on application of agreement between the parties and the Republic of Uzbekistan was signed.
Thereby the actual number of participants increased to nine agreements, and trade relations between them are based on the specific conditions, i.e. without import duties (except for three points, the duties for which remain until January 1, 2015 ), and without quantitative restrictions and prohibitions.
Experts are currently working on the draft agreements on free trade in services, public procurements and formation of the dispute resolution commission.
– The agreement on free trade zone is being effectively implemented, – said Lebedev, noting positive dynamics of cooperation in such fields as energy, transport, agriculture, information technologies, statistics, enhanced interaction in the sphere of protection of intellectual property, in the financial and banking sector, increased interest in cooperation in nuclear energy and peaceful use of outer space.
According to him the growth rates of Commonwealth remain positive, despite the downward number of economic indicators under the influence of negative trends in the global economy. In this context, he noted the need to determine their own targets of economic growth and identify new points for the development of large investment projects.
– We need to improve the business climate in the Commonwealth without waiting for improvement of external environment, – he said.
By the way, one of these points of growth may well be the sphere of tourism with its untapped potential. Due to the fact that this year is declared the Year of Tourism in the CIS, special attention was paid at the forum to this industry.
Thus, the Tourism Council of CIS states held a roundtable to discuss the events and activities to be held ahead and the progress of the Strategy for development of cooperation of CIS countries in the field of tourism in the period up to 2020 approved by the Board of CIS Heads of governments of November 20, 2013.
The document envisages specific measures in terms of effectively addressing the problems of tourism sector, including the development of related industries – transport and information services, health care, leisure and entertainment industry. The board also considered organizational issues.
As for the chairmanship in the Council, this year it is led by the Republic of Belarus and in 2015 it will be chaired by the republic of Kazakhstan which showed an enviable activity in the formation of the Action Plan for the Year of Tourism. As Chairman of the Committee for Tourism of RK Ministry of industry and new technologies Marat Igaliyev noted, the Kazakh side introduced 20 points in the document. Almost all regions of the country supported the initiative and presented their proposals.
The Tourism Council of CIS member- states was created in 1994. Currently it consists of representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. They presented the potential of the industry at the IX International Tourism Exhibition ITM – 2014, which in parallel with the Forum of CIS opened on March 15 in Moscow in the exhibition center “Crocus EXPO”.
A stylized national stand of Kazakhstan, organized by the Tourism Committee was attended on the opening day by Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai. The chief official of the industry praised the dynamics of development in the republic, emphasizing the need to promote the project “Silk Road.” He also announced the trends and global indicators of the world tourism industry. Thus, in 2013 the global tourist flow exceeded one billion people, including 1 billion 87 million people of outbound tourism. In the current year the tourist traffic is expected to increase by 4.5-5 %.
The exhibition IINTURMARKET – 2014 is represented by 148 countries and regions of the world and about 1500 companies. The Kazakh stand involves numerous tourist companies. The head of the committee believes that it is connected with the policy to promote domestic tourism in the country. The Kazakh delegation takes part in conferences, seminars, master classes, roundtables and organizes presentations of tourist potential of the country and EXPO 2017.
… Also the 61st meeting of the Economic Council of the Commonwealth with an extensive agenda was held within the frames of the International Economic Forum. Its members approved a number of draft agreements on implementation of some international programs, a report on the activities of Interstate Council on Antimonopoly Policy of the Interstate Council “Radionavigation” in 2010-2013, as well as a report on the market for audit services and application of international auditing standards in CIS.
Also the meeting approved the Concept of the anniversary exhibition of CIS, dedicated to the 75th jubilee of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of the USSR – the All-Russian Exhibition Centre, within the frames of the Russian agro-industrial week.
The outcome of the event was the decision on the awarding of laureate diplomas and special prize “Recognition of business excellence” and CIS Award in 2013 for achievements in quality products and services. 24 organizations from seven countries took part in the competition and the nine organizations working in the field of mechanical engineering and instrumentation, electrical, light and food industries, education and healthcare became the winners.