Cooperation issues within the framework of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program were discussed during an online meeting with the representatives of the country’s Ministry of Culture and Turkmen Airlines.
The agenda included the discussion a scientific project on the impact of the COVID-19 on aviation and tourism in the Central Asian countries. Particular attention was paid to jointly adopted measures to respond to the pandemic, mitigate the impact of its consequences and promote recovery.
CAREC Aviation Consultant for West and Central Asia Brendan Soby noted that this crisis, via transformations, new strategies, and restructuring, provides an opportunity to “reset” support for the CAREC aviation industry.
“We are trying to adapt the aviation elements of the CAREC Transport Strategy 2030 to the current situation, and in this case, this survey and the upcoming meetings are just the beginning of a dialogue,” he said.
Participants also noted that a CAREC aviation workshop is planned for 2021 to help better understand needs and assist development of a new long-term strategy.
“With the Migration Service of Turkmenistan, we are developing plans to increase the tourist flow, simplify visa processing and introduce a visa-free regime,” Gulshat Bakieva, deputy head of the tourism department of the Ministry of Culture, said.
During the video link, the issues of bringing the aviation industries to the level at least before the pandemic were considered. “It will take a couple more years to reach the previous state. If this situation continues, it will be a partial recovery. Full restoration of international traffic is impossible without vaccination,” Brandan Sobi noted.
He also added: “In the meantime, meetings via video link may be held to discuss short-term needs and strategies to overcome the current crisis and to facilitate rapid recovery in the CAREC aviation and tourism sectors.”