SESRIC Tourism Capacity Building Programme
SESRIC Tourism Capacity Building Programme
Developing human and institutional capacities of OIC Member States in tourism through South-South cooperation


Tourism is a significant economic activity and an important source of foreign exchange earnings and employment in many Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). According to the Tourism Outlook2019 report of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC), the share of international tourism arrivals in OIC countries as a whole was 14.8 percent in 2018, whereas their share of international tourism receipts was 11.4 percent during the same period. There are many challenges affecting tourism performance in OIC countries, including insufficient investments and infrastructure, poor tourism planning and product development, lack of travel facilitation, safety and security issues, low quality service, insufficient marketing and promotion, and inadequate image-building and branding. Nevertheless, OIC Member States have significant potential to develop a sustainable international tourism sector. Taking into consideration the distinct natural, cultural, social and historical assets of OIC countries, careful attention is required to fully reach their tourism potential and increase South-South cooperation in the sector. 


Towards a Solution

To address these challenges, the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) launched the Tourism Capacity Building Programme (Tourism-CaB) in 2015 to develop and strengthen the capacities of national tourism institutions of OIC Member States by matching their needs and capacities within the framework of South-South cooperation. The programme aims to enhance the capacities of national tourism institutions while also promoting this neglected sector in many OIC countries, particularly the in Sub-Saharan Africa and least developed countries. Furthermore, within its mandate to conduct economic and social research, SESRIC regularly prepares reports and policy documents on tourism that aim to facilitate discussion and debate among the OIC Member States during the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers. 


The tourism industries of OIC Member States are not at the same level of development. While some countries are ranked among the top destinations, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkiyethe majority of Member States are concentrated at the bottom of the list. The difference stems from lack of tourism-related infrastructure, government prioritization and policy orientations, as well as conflicts and political instability. 


Within its mandate to organize capacity building training activities on a wide range of socio-economic issues of interest to the OIC Member States and to facilitate sharing of experience and knowledge, SESRIC provides a number of capacity-building activities that are delivered via different modalities, such as training courses, training workshops, seminars and study visits. This is usually done through matching the needs and capacities of the national institutions of the OIC Member States. To match the needs and capacities, the Centre regularly circulates the questionnaires on the relevant subjects and analyses these needs and capacities based on the responses of the relevant institutions in the Member States. Stakeholders in this process are purely motivated by a spirit of solidarity and South-South cooperation. They are also looking to scale up the impact of promising partnerships with proven and cost-effective approaches. 


Since 2015, SESRIC has implemented more than 30 activities within the framework of the Tourism Capacity Building ProgrammeThese activities were attended by the OICMember States, as well as relevant regional, international and OIC institutions. Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Gambia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, Turkiye and Uzbekistan, among others, benefited from these capacity-building activities, which covered topics such as tourism marketing, sustainable tourism development and Muslim friendly tourism. 


In an effort to explore new ways to support the Member States of the OIC in the field of tourism, many activities focusing on Muslim friendly tourism were implemented in partnership with COMCEC, through its Project Funding Schemes. In this regard, a training course on the development and promotion of Muslim friendly tourism in OIC Member States was held in Ankara, Turkiye in 2017. The aim of the training was to facilitate the transfer of knowledge by sharing the experiences of Malaysia, Turkey and other advanced OIC countries in developing successful policies, regulations, standards and marketing strategies in that regard. 


SESRIC Tourism Capacity Building Programme is an ongoing programme. In the past eight years, over 40 OICMember States have benefited from this initiative, which reflects growing interest. Considering the potential and growing market size of Muslim friendly tourism as a niche segment across OIC Member Statesleading Islamic destinations like Malaysia, Turkiye and the United Arab Emirates could share their knowledge and best practices with other OIC Member States, which could play a vital role in their economic growth and prosperity. Capacity-building and training programmes on various aspects of the tourism sector, including Muslim friendly tourism, are being planned in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders so that the lessons learned from these activities can be scaled up and disseminated more broadly. 


Finally, this programme contributes significantly to training human resources through South-South cooperation and generating new revenue sources, thereby boosting economic growth. As such, it contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal targets8.2, 8.9, 12.b, 14.7 and 17.9. The methods and modalities of the programme are constantly updated to address the evolving challenges and meet the growing demand of national tourism institutions. 


Contact Information

Name: Mr Onur Caglar, Title: Director Organization: Training and Technical Cooperation Department, Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC); Name: Ms Alia Sharify Ortaq, Title: Project Officer Organization: Training and Technical Cooperation Department, SESRIC;

Countries involved


Supported by

Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC)

Implementing Entities

Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC)

Project Status


Project Period


URL of the practice

Primary SDG

08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Primary SDG Targets

8.2, 8.3, 8.5, 8.6, 8.9

Secondary SDGs

17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Secondary SDG Targets

17.5, 17.6, 17.8, 17.9, 17.14, 17.17

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