1st International Western Silk Road Workshop
1st International Western Silk Road Workshop
The city of Alexandroupoli, in Greece, has hosted the 1st International UNWTO Western Silk Road Workshop held on 26-27 April 2017. The event was jointly organized by UNWTO, the Ministry of Tourism of Greece and the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The workshop is the first practical step of an initiative, developed by UNWTO in cooperation with the European Commission as part of the ‘Enhancing the Understanding of European Tourism’ Project.
The Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative aims to revive and redefine Silk Road heritage located throughout the European or Western section of the historic Silk Road routes. By involving many different partners throughout Europe, this novel initiative aims to strengthen and diversify the tourism offer of Western Silk Road destinations as well as enhance regional cooperation and cross-border partnerships.
Three panels integrated the Workshop that focused on the challenges and opportunities to develop the Western Silk Road as a trans-national tourism route, on the marketing potential of the Route, and on the practical steps needed to be taken in order to ensure the project’s long-term success and viability. As part of the discussions, a Western Silk Road Work Group has been established in charge of guaranteeing a coordinated approach.
As expressed by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, “in present times, and building upon a natural and cultural wealth spanning thousands of years, we are in a position to reject harmful global tendencies and revive a route capable of transforming the way we think about and relate to travel. I can think of no better place to host an event focused on European Silk Road heritage than Greece – rightly considered one of the cradles of Humanity”.
Tourism unites people and nations. It promotes stability, peace and growth. It builds bridges of cooperation and opens-up roads to prosperity. Thus, we are pleased to support the organization of the first international workshop, as part of this excellent Western Silk Road initiative,” mentioned the Minister of Tourism of Greece, Elena Kountoura, at the Opening of the Workshop“.
Attended by the Governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, the Mayor of Alexandroupoli and the Secretary-General of the Greek National Tourism Organization, the Workshop counted upon excellent feedback from a wide range of international stakeholders from the tourism sector and beyond, including tour operators, universities, cultural route representatives and stakeholders from the creative arts, such as the Silk Road Folklore Dance Festival and the Silk Road Film Festival.
Important input was also contributed by UNWTO Affiliate Members, TripAdvisor, Destination Makers, the Fundación Turismo Valencia, the World Federation of Tourist Guides Association (WFTGA), the Greek Guiding Association and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Iraq, that addressed the potential of cultural and religious tourism.
Aegean Airlines, who shared its actions in promoting route development and connectivity across the Silk Road, the Chamber of Evros and the Tsiakiris Silkhouse supported the event.
The conclusions of the Workshop were further concretized at the 2nd International Western Silk Road Workshop, which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 27-28 June 2017.
Presentations and Videos:
Videos shown during the meeting:
- Proyecto de Rehabilitación Colegio del Arte Mayor de la Seda
- International Folklore Dance Festival, Salomina
- Youth Camps 2017: Silk Road, this is Metaxourgio
- Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO
- Mr. Antti Peltomaki, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Comission
Silk Road Tourism Development Update:
- New Opportunities for Sustainable Tourism Development along the Silk Road by Ms. Alla Peressolova, Head of the UNWTO Silk Road Programme
- Aegean Airlines in 2017 by Ms. Irini Sidiropoulou, Sales Manager North Greece & Ionian islands, Aegean Airlines
Workshop 1 Challenges and Opportunities:
- The UNWTO Western Silk Road brand study and its tourism potential by Mr. Nikolaos Gkolfinopoulos, UNWTO Silk Road Programme
- Dr. Stella Kostopoulou, Associate Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
- Ms. Lusine Saribegian, Senior Manager and Lecturer of the Department of Management, Business and Tourism, Russian-Armenian University, Armenia
- Mr. Vasily Dikhtyar, Professor, Institute of Hospitality business and tourism
- People’s Friendship University of Russia
- Mr. Paolo Baraldi, Researcher, M.S. Tourism Economics and Management, University of Bologna
Workshop 2 Marketing Strategies and Tools:
- TripAdvisor Travel Trends for the Silk Road by Mr. Gavin Greene, Manager, Industry Strategy & Outreach, TripAdvisor
- Linking tourism development and local communities: A model for the Western Silk Road by Ms. Emma Taveri, Destination Makers
- Promoting Western Silk Road Nationally: Case study of Greek Social Media by Ms. Polytimi Vrachati, Head of Publications and Audiovisual Department, Greek National Tourism Organization
- Silk Road Integration: the best-practice example of Valencia by Mr. Vicente Haba, Head of Tourism Product Development, Turismo Valencia
Workshop 3 governance structures and themed approaches:
- The folklore dancing festival of Salamina on the theme of Silk Road by Ms. Kelina Digenaki, Deputy Manager of Folklore, Likion Hellinidon Salaminas (Lyceum of Greek Women of Salamis)
- Transmitting Western Silk Road Heritage by Ivana Ćuruvija, International Lead Trainer, World Federation of Tourist Guides Association (WFTGA)
- Youth- camps and the Tourism Development of Local Communities along the Greek Silk Road, Ms. Helena Zoumboulidou, Camp Leader, Greek Guiding Association
- Mr. Mahmood Mousa, Director General, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Iraq
Workshop 3 Roundtable discussion:
- Mr Stefano Dominioni, Executive Secretary, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes, Council of Europe
- Mr. George Kalamantis, Director of International and European Relations, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Representative of Greece to the Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes
- Black Sea Silk Road Corridors by Mr. Nikolas Petropoulos, President, European Regional Framework for Co-operation
- VeroTour and Lessons learnt for for tourism by Ms. Silvia Lecci, Manager, Via Francigena, Italy
- A Tour Operator´s perspective: Intra-regional cooperation through the Silk Road tourism routes by Ms. Nina Dadayan, Head of Incoming Department, Armenian Travel
- Tourist Guides highlighting the European Silk Road Ms. Efi Kalampoukidou, President, European Federation of Tourist Guide Association