The Silk Road was the first example of a great story providing an opportunity for us in the audience to understand the strategy and the approach behind such successful outcome. It is a very complex route that has been acclaimed as
the ‘greatest route in the history of mankind’
The Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally connecting the East and West through regions of Eurasia and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea. The Silk Road consists of both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia and Europe. Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilisations. Today it displays a richly diverse cultural heritage and a wealth of natural tourism attractions spanning across thousands of kilometers of ancient routes and offering visitors the opportunity to experience a unique network of destinations linked by a shared history…You can walk in the footsteps of famed explorers such as Alexander the Great and Marco Polo through this route.
“You may know that these days this topic is very high on the political agenda, thus the Silk Road is repeatedly mentioned in the newspapers;
in the media the silk road is often referred to as a brand more powerful than Disney and Coca Cola.
When UNESCO created the Silk Road and Spice Routes map with the main routes involved, they studied about 100 thousands kms of this incredible intricate network of routes, that today is called the Silk Road.
After UNWTO launched this initiative with UNESCO several years ago, they looked at what was done previously on this top ‘touring route’: there was no much research done on the silk road tourism. Therefore, it was commissioned a study where 300 thousands local social network were surveyed;
the data showed that the silk road comes into almost 30% of all conversations by travellers linked to routes travel.
Nevertheless no much is known on the type of tourism; thus the action plan created with the inputs of the countries is focusing on 3 key areas:
- Marketing and promotion
- Destination management and Capacity Building
- Travel facilitation
1. The workforce consists of a collaborative platform aimed at fostering sustainable and competitive tourism along the historic routes. There are currently 33 Committed Member States: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangadlesh, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, DPR Korea, Republic of Korea, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhistan, Kyrgyzstan,Mongolia, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkey, san Marino.
This is an incredible mosaic of destinations sharing a common and very diverse heritage. This task force was meant to act at different levels and stakeholders.
WTM London, National Geographic Traveler, BBC World, The Discovery Channel Tripadvisor are only few of the many International Press initiating the collaboration WITH US and asking for transnational projects. They support and see the value in the programme. Comedians love the silk road and this idea of transnational cooperation across borders which is what makes transnational routes so powerful. We had 2 projects with Discovery Channel and the BBC.
David Baddiel is a British comedian, novelist and television presenter. In 2016, he fronted a four-part travel documentary for discovery Channel entitled David Baddiel On the Silk Road, a 4,000 mile journey to explore the most famous trade route in history.
2.8 billions subscribers in 220 countries was the outreach of the series. A journey through China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
Sam Willis is a British historian, television presenter and writer. In 2016 the BBC broadcast ‘The Silk Road’, a series following Willis’s journey from Xi’an to Venice.
This highlights the great potential in storytelling linked to the nature of the route.
There was another initiative about Kai Marcus, a runner that run 8 kms every day through the Silk Road. We helped him to connect with the local communities and have local experiences.
We also have strong presence in the social network arena and run campaigns for the countries via social media, such as Silk Road gastronomy for example.
Another project with TripAdvisor was initiated to create knowledge and awareness about the Silk Road:
2. Travel Facilitation:
We identified three clusters amongst the Silk road routes: the classic Silk road, the western Silk road and the maritime Silk road. Four projects related to the three clusters:
- UNWTO/EU Western silk road tourism development initiative;
- UNWTO training and capacity building programme;
- Exploratory research on the toursism impact of the 21st century maritime silk road;
- Enhancing silk road interpretation and quality guides training initiative;
The very first project made evident the huge interest from the European countries on the essence and heritage that have fostered partnership with the Universities and Governments engaged in the western silk road project.
3. A very important initiative was launched with UNESCO that aimed at creating a national pool of silk road trainers implementing common standards for guides and enhancing overall experience for the travellers. A key point was the understanding that capacity building should not only be done at the Government level but also at the private level.
There are online modules and onsite training on creating transational projects. Private sectors, countries cooperating with young professionals to work together as part of the capacity building programme.
This is an ongoing programme of events.”
You can watch the video here: Alla Peressolova