Considering the importance of e-tourism technologies and the status of the OIC member countries in this regard, a proposal for organising an International Seminar on “Development of E-Tourism Technologies in Islamic Countries” was discussed in the 5th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) held in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan in September 2006. In this connection, the said Seminar was organised by the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology of Islamic University of Technology (IUT), Dhaka, in collaboration with Islamic Development Bank (IDB), OIC General Secretariat, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism of Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh, and held at the campus of the Islamic University of Technology (IUT), Dhaka, Bangladesh on 22-24 April 2008.
Representatives of 10 OIC member countries, namely Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Indonesia, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda attended the Seminar. The representative of the SESRIC and those of 7 universities and 3 institutes in Bangladesh also attended the Seminar. A total of 54 participants attended the Seminar.
The Seminar aimed at discussing the available e-technologies that can be used in enhancing the development of the tourism sector in the member countries. In so doing, the Seminar reviewed the experience of the participating member countries in the field of e-tourism. Among other related issues, the participants discussed the benefits of a possible common platform for tourism among OIC member countries with the aim of exchanging of technological views, ideas and experiences among the member countries. During the working sessions of the Seminar, a total of 25 papers, including country presentations by the representatives of the 10 participating member countries, have been discussed.
The representative of the SESRIC Mr. Nabil Dabour, Senior Researcher, presented a paper titled “International Tourism in the OIC Countries: Prospects and Challenges”. This paper attempts to assess the performance and the economic role of the international tourism sector in the OIC member countries. It examines the traditionally used indicators in measuring international tourism (i.e. international tourist arrivals and international tourism receipts). The analysis is made at both the individual country and the OIC regional levels. The paper also sheds light on some issues and problems of tourism development and cooperation in the OIC countries and proposes a set of recommendations to serve as policy guidelines to which the attention of the member countries needs to be drawn.
Following a general deliberation on the different topics of the presentations, the Seminar adopted a set of recommendations to be implemented at both the national and OIC-regional cooperation levels. The final report, including the recommendations, of the Seminar will be submitted to the 6th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM), which will be held in Damascus, Syria on 29 June to 2 July 2008 and to the 24th Session of the COMCEC, which will be held in Istanbul on 19-24 October 2008.