Qatar to Host 13th Session of Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers in 2026

Tashkent, June 02 (QNA) – The State of Qatar, represented in Qatar Tourism, participated in the 12th session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM), which was held on Sunday in Khiva, Uzbekistan, under the theme “Development of the Tourism Industry in a Sustainable and Resilient Way.”
The Conference endorsed the State of Qatar as the host country for the 13th Session of ICTM in 2026 and urged member states and OIC institutions to actively participate in that session.

The ICTM aims to develop and cooperate in the field of tourism and decisions related to this field, in addition to implementing a road map based on a unified strategy among the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation OIC) on the progress made to implement tourism infrastructure projects.

During the opening session, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan Aziz Abdukhakimov emphasized Uzbekistan’s aspiration to strengthen cooperation between member states in tourism and achieve further development in this field.

For his part, Secretary-General of the OIC Hussein Ibrahim Taha pointed out that tourism is a strong catalyst for growth and has the ability to enhance cultural heritage and facilitate entrepreneurship opportunities and tourism projects, describing it as the backbone of the OIC’s member states. He stressed that the tourism sector has the transformative potential to alleviate poverty crises by providing job opportunities.

He thanked the Republic of Uzbekistan for hosting this session of ICTM in the historical and cultural city of Khiva.

In turn, Fatima Al Sada, from the International Cooperation Department at Qatar Tourism, highlighted in her speech the most important joint developments between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Uzbekistan with regard to tourism cooperation, in addition to an organized work plan between the two sides.

She noted that tourism in the State of Qatar has made big strides toward achieving its goals and future aspirations, as 2023 witnessed an influx of more than 4 million visitors. During the last four months of 2023, the State of Qatar received more than two million visitors, which is double the number of visitors in 2022, which increases the country’s aspirations to double the numbers by 2030.

Regarding the Qatar Airways launching of direct flights between Doha and Tashkent this month, Al Sada said that these flights in turn enhance the consolidation of relations between the two countries and increase bilateral cooperation at various levels, as this new line provides multiple travel options.

In remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Fatima Al Sada indicated that one of Qatar Tourism’s goals is to establish a special executive program for the cooperation between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Uzbekistan, based primarily on a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries that includes the implementation of all the items that were agreed upon. She pointed out that the State of Qatar was chosen as vice president of the coordination office for the Arab group with regard to the tourism field.

During the conclusion of the conference, three cities won the Tourism City Award of the (OIC). The 12th ICTM approved the selection of Dakar, Republic of Senegal, as the OIC City of Tourism for 2025, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, for 2026, and Lahore, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for 2027.

The Conference commended the elaborate plans by the relevant OIC institutions for the commemoration of Khiva, as the OIC City of Tourism for 2024 and urged OIC Member States to actively participate in the various activities in awardee cities for 2025, 2026, and 2027.

The 12th ICTM also urged all OIC Member States and relevant institutions to implement the Strategic Roadmap for the Development of Islamic Tourism and organize annual events on Islamic tourism to promote intra-OIC tourist flows, through visa facilitation, investment promotion, branding and standardization, and capacity building.

The Conference invited the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) to work closely with the OIC and relevant International Organizations, including but not limited to UN Tourism, on the revised Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Cultural Tourism in the Islamic World.

In addition, the Khiva conference called upon the OIC Member States to invest in ‘digitalization’ for promoting and marketing their respective destinations as well as improving international visitors’ experiences in the tourism sector with a view to speeding up the recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic and hosting more international tourists. (QNA)