Seminar on 'Development of Tourism in the Muslim World'
Date: 15-17 April 2009
Venue: Girne - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus -

The Seminar on Development of Tourism in the Muslim World was held in Girne on April 15-17, 2009 with the participation of delegates from 16 OIC Member States and representatives of the OIC General Secretariat, SESRIC, IRCICA, ICDT, IDB, ISESCO and ICCI.

The Meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Turgay Avcı, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), who delivered a speech in which he expressed his gratitude and deep appreciation to H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, OIC Secretary General, as well as to the ICDT, IDB and other concerned institutions and to all participants for their support and contribution. He also briefed the participants about the current situation of the TRNC and the UN negotiations.

In the opening session of the meeting, the message of H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, OIC Secretary General was read out by H.E. Ambassador Tori Limangana, Deputy Secretary General for Economic Affairs. Mr. Allal Rachdi, Director General of ICDT, then took the floor and delivered his speech.

In the working sessions the Seminar presentations were made by experts from OIC Member States and Organizations as follows:

  • The WTO Negotiations in the Tourism Sector”, presented by Mr. El Hassane Hzaine, ICDT.
  • “World Tourism Industry, New Trends and Challenges”, presented by Mr. Nazmi Buldanlıoğlu, Eastern Mediterranean University, TRNC.
  • “International Tourism in the OIC countries : Prospects and Challenges”, presented by Mr. Haytham Zeinelabdin (SESRIC) ;
  • “Role of the Private Sector in the Promotion of Cooperation in the Tourism Sector among the OIC Member States”, presented by Mrs. Attia Nawazish Ali (ICCI);
  • “The Role of Preservation of Architectural Heritage in the Development and Promotion of Tourism in the OIC Member States”, presented by Mr. Amir Pasic (IRCICA);
  • “Promotion of Tourism Culture in the Islamic World” presented by Mr. Mustapha Eid (ISESCO);
  • National Experience of the Kingdom of Morocco
  • National Experience of Tunisian Republic
  • National Experience of the Republic of Turkey
  • National Experience of Islamic Republic of Mauritania
  • National Experience of the Republic of Niger
  • National Experience of The Gambia
  • National Experience of Malaysia
  • National Experience of the TRNC
  • National Experience of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  • National Experience of the Republic of Tajikistan
  • National Experience of the Union of Comoros

Following the working sessions and debates on the presentations made by experts the participants realised the potential of tourism in the Muslim World and after the deliberations on all information and proposals presented to the seminar agreed upon some recommendations that will help in the development of tourism in the Muslim World. The recommendations agreed upon are as follows:

i) To call upon the OIC institutions, each in its own field of specialization, to give special attention to the joint ventures initiated by the OIC Member States in the tourist sector (Feasibility studies, promotion at the level of the funding parties etc.).

ii) To call on the ISESCO and IRCICA to initiate an awareness program of the importance of cultural tourism as a means of dialogue between civilizations and to improve the image of Islam in the world. The private sector, the international organizations and concerned donor institutions and organizations may also contribute to such a program.

iii) To invite universities within OIC Member States to organize executive training sessions in the field of tourism in collaboration with the relevant OIC institutions.

iv) To call on the OIC Member States to coordinate their negotiating positions during the current WTO Trade negotiations.

v) To develop joint regional projects in tourism like the Project on the Silk Road and the regional project for “Development in a Network of Cross – Border Parks and Protected Areas in West Africa”.

vi) To encourage the establishment of alliances between tourism operators in the OIC States, particularly, the official tourism promotion bodies, with a view to strengthening joint tourism marketing and promoting cooperation efforts at the sub-regions level as well as at the level of the OIC region as a whole.

vii) To call on Member States to diversify tourism products by the inclusion of socio-cultural programs and traditional activities involving local communities. In this regard, efforts should be made to improve planning, management and marketing of ecotourism not only as a sector with a great potential for economic development, especially, in remote areas where few other possibilities exist, but also as a significant tool for conservation of the natural environment and the sustainable tourism development.

viii) To call on Member States to participate actively and massively in the 2nd Tourism Fair of Islamic Countries to be organized by the Republic of Lebanon and the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade in Beirut in June 26-28, 2009.

ix) To establish and facilitate linkages in air, land/rail and sea and multimodal transportation with a view to facilitating access from one destination to another within the OIC region and from the rest of the World. In this context, efforts should be made to establish alliances among the airlines of the OIC States with the possibility of having an open-sky policy and direct flights between their capitals and major cities.

x) To take necessary measures to facilitate the entry and movement of tourists among the OIC Member States and enhance intra-OIC tourism through, inter alia, simplifying administrative and legal travel procedures.

xi) To recognize and highlight the important role of the private sector in the promotion of tourism. It called upon the ICCI to continue with its efforts for greater interaction among the private sector and to particularly promote cooperation with the private sector of Northern Cyprus.

xii) To call on the private sector to actively participate in the International Tourism Promotion Company established by the ICCI.

xiii) To focus on the development of niche tourism in OIC Member States that will enhance tourism product diversification.

xiv) To stress the importance of exchange of experiences and expertise among OIC States in the fields of restoration and preservation of Islamic cultural heritage as well as in training of professional personnel for the tourism industry.

xv) Invites the Member States to exchange business delegations with the Turkish Cypriot side with a view to exploring the opportunities of economic cooperation, investment in the areas such as direct transport, tourism, information and to develop cultural relations and sports contacts with the Turkish Cypriot people and to encourage cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot universities, including the exchanges of students and academicians.

xvi) To convene a follow-up meeting, including Representatives from the Government of the TRNC, OIC General Secretariat, ICDT, IRCICA, SESRIC, ICCI and IDB in order to review the implementation of the recommendations of the seminar.

To read the Final Report and Recommendations of the Seminar, please click here.