Varanasi Declared as First-Ever SCO Tourism and Cultural CapitalSeptember 17, 2022 11:09
(Image source from: Twitter.com/MEAIndia)
Indian holy city Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital of the world for the year 2022-23. The announcement was made at the 22nd Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit that took place in Samarkand in Uzbekistan on Friday. Foreign Secretary for India, Vinay Kwatra confirmed the news at a media briefing after the summit was concluded. The Ministry of External Affairs issued an official statement that said "The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member Countries. It also underlines India’s ancient civilizational links with the Member States of SCO, especially the Central Asian Republics".
Under the Cultural Outreach programme, several events are held in Varanasi and the guests from the SCO have been invited for these events. MEA also said "These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians and artists, photojournalists, travel bloggers and other invited guests". This announcement will give a major boost for Varanasi for tourism. The nominations for the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital have been finalized at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in the year 2021. The SCO Summit for this year was held on September 15th and 16th at Samarkand. Countries like India, Kazakhastan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the summit. Permanent memberships of the bloc were given to Iran and Belarus during the summit.