The 2021 China-Uzbekistan Cultural Tourism Cooperation and Development Symposium was held online from November 24 to 25 under the theme of “Cultural Heritage Preservation and Tourism Promotion in Uzbekistan: From Theory to Action.” About 20 top experts from China and Uzbekistan delivered keynote speeches at the symposium, and nearly 300 participated online. It is one of the most influential professional culture and tourism summits between the two countries to be held since the beginning of the pandemic.
Uzbekistan has among the richest tourism and cultural heritage attractions in Central Asia and along the Silk Road. “This symposium will promote the consistent development of cultural heritage protection values between China and Uzbekistan and lead to more cooperation between the two sides. Cooperation between China and Uzbekistan will take this symposium as an opportunity to extend (to other countries) along the silk road,” said Abdulaziz Akulov, Vice-minister of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in his speech.
Tursunali Kuziyev, Director of the Cultural Heritage Agency of Uzbekistan, emphasized that China-Uzbekistan cultural exchanges are highly inclusive. He expressed hope that this symposium can be carried out regularly to promote the implementation of more culture and tourism projects on both sides.
China and Uzbekistan have seen a lot of success in the field of culture and tourism, including the joint protection and restoration project of the ancient city of Khiva and the Global South-South Development Center project supported by the Chinese government and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation entitled “Tourism Promotes Poverty Reduction, Employment, and Women’s Development in Uzbekistan.” The two countries have established a strong relationship founded on mutual trust and cooperation.
“This symposium builds upon and is an improvement on previous projects. It is hoped that experts from both sides will form more distinctive and targeted cooperation projects and sub-projects through a full exchange,” said Li Ji, former Executive Vice-president of the Palace Museum and Chairman of the Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation, in his speech.
Zhan Changfa, former Vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, said in his speech, “The Action Plan for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Heritage will inject new vitality into the Silk Road and the integration of Chinese and Central Asian cultures and mutual learning between civilizations, and it will also provide strong support for the sustainable development of society, economy and culture, and tourism.”
Zhou Qingfu, President of the Central Academy of Culture and Tourism Administration, and other speakers respectively delivered excellent professional speeches and put forward relevant initiatives to strengthen cooperation, which were highly praised by their counterparts in Uzbekistan.
Margarita Filanovich, a senior researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, introduced the ancient Aktepa site in Tashkent and expressed her desire to carry out restoration work with her Chinese counterparts jointly. During the open discussion portion of the symposium, she proposed carrying out projects with Chinese counterparts in the Syr Darya Corridor, which received positive responses from the Chinese side.
More than 10 Uzbek experts, including Sergey Baratov, senior researcher at the Archaeological Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, Mavlyuda Yusupova, Director of the Department of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts of the National Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, and Bakhtiyor Ergashev, Director of the Department of History and Historical Materials of Samarkand State University said that they look forward to furthering cooperation with Chinese experts in the protection of Uzbekistan’s cultural heritage and tourism development.
Wu Jianbo, a representative of the sponsors of the symposium and Secretary-general of the Green and Smart Energy Organization, expressed his hopes that through the symposium, China and Uzbekistan, as well as other countries involved in the BRI, will be motivated to carry out more green cooperation, and through the implementation of major projects contribute to national and regional post-pandemic recovery and global sustainable development, build a green BRI international cooperation mechanism, improve green governance capabilities, and jointly pursue green economic growth.
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