8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Ministry of Tourism of Greece and the Region of Central Macedonia partnered together to organize the 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism in Thessaloniki, Greece on 10-12 October 2018. Following the previous two editions in Dunhuang (2013) and Xi’an (2015) in China, this international Silk Road meeting was hosted for the very first time by a European Silk Road Member State.
16 countries from the Silk Road region, in addition to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) convened for a Silk Road Ministerial Roundtable, moderated by CNN Greece, focused on the overarching role and relevance of the Silk Road within a globalized tourism framework.
Also attended by many representatives from the private tourism sector and academia, the two-day event additionally featured specialized panel sessions on transnational cooperation, tourism intelligence and destination management, a networking breakfast and a joint UNWTO / PATA session focused on digitalization and tourism storytelling. During the first day of the event, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between UNWTO and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki aimed at fomenting cooperation and tourism research, especially about Silk Road heritage available throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Day 1: Wednesday, 10 October
Greece and the Silk Road:
- Dr. Stella Kostopoulou, Associate Professor, Head of the European Interdisciplinary Silk Road Tourism Centre, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
- Ms. Themis Panagiotopoulou, Head, Tourism Promotion and Planning Department, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO)
Panel Session 1: Tourism growth through transnational cooperation: best-practice examples from the Silk Road and beyond
- Mr. Patrick Fritz, Technical Coordinator, Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department, UNWTO
- Mr. Peter DeBrine, Senior Project Officer, Sustainable Tourism, UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- Dr. Ahmed Eiweida, Global Coordinator for Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism, World Bank
- Mr. Robert Travers, Tourism Consultant, "The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: tourism opportunities and impacts"
- Ms. Katerina Mouzouraki, Communications Manager, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Greece
- Mr. Kai Markus Xiong, Extreme Athlete and Activist, "Run My Silk Road"
- Mr. Nikolaus Lohmann, CEO, Earth TV
Panel Session 2: Resilience and the Silk Road: touris intelligence, destination management and the future of travel
- Mr. Nikolaos Gkolfinopoulos, Silk Road Project Specialist, Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department, UNWTO
- Dr. Joseph Cheer, Lecturer, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
- Ms. Irini Sidiropoulou, Sales Manager, Northern Greece & Ionian Islands, Aegean Airlines
- Mr. Andrew Aley, Head, Experience Businesses - Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), TripAdvisor
- Ms. Voula Patoulidou, President, Thessaloniki Tourism Organization (speech only)
- Ms. Helene Lloyd, Director, TMI Consultancy
- Ms. Marina Founta, Head of Marketing in CEE, Google
- Prof. Dimitrios Buhalis, Head, Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University
Day 2: Thursday, 11 October
Keynote Speech: how storytelling impacts travelers' choices and experiences: what is data telling us
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