4th UNWTO Silk Road Tour Operators' Forum

4th UNWTO Silk Road Tour Operators' Forum

Unlocking the Silk Road's Adventure Travel Potential

Organized in collaboration with Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and supported by ITB Berlin

This event occurred on Thursday 5 March 2015, 11:00-13:00 at Palais West Room, ITB Berlin

Download the event programme here. 

Acclaimed as one of the greatest trading routes in the history of mankind, the Silk Road is a unique tapestry of nature, traditions and trading routes connecting the ancient empires of China, Central and Western Asia, and the Indian Sub-Continent to Rome.

Today, this rich network of routes stretching thousands of kilometers across over 30 countries offers one of the most diverse ranges of tourism experiences in the world. Travelers can retrace the steps of ancient explorers, hike unspoiled mountain ranges, wander through ancient cities and experience traditional life in the steppe.

With its unparalleled culture, nature and historical experiences on offer, the Silk Road is fast becoming a hot spot for adventure seekers.

This forum provided an opportunity for adventure travel experts and Silk Road tour operators to discuss opportunities for joint product development and cooperative marketing activities. It looked at opportunities for stakeholders to work together to raise the profile of the Silk Road as a world class adventure travel destination.

View images from the event, click here


Speaker Biographies:

Mr. Chris Doyle, Executive Director - Europe, ATTA

Since 2004, Chris has played a key role in the global Adventure Travel Trade Association’s strategic direction and development. Since 2005, he has directed the content and execution for each of the ATTA’s annual Adventure Travel World Summit conferences. He’s traveled worldwide in collaboration with public and private organizations as an ambassador of best practices representing the collective interests of the ATTA’s more than 1,000 members which includes tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents, accommodations, media and industry partners with a vested interest in the responsible development of adventure tourism. He also currently oversees the ATTA's development efforts in Europe.


Ms. Manal Kelig, Executive Director- MENA, ATTA

Manal S. Kelig is one of three co- founders of Gateway To Egypt (GWE) for Travel Marketing in the Middle East & Great Wonders of Egypt for sustainable travel to Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East. She received her B.A. in Egyptology & Tourism in 1992 from the Faculty of Tourism & Hotel Management Helwan University of Cairo.

Since the operation of GWE in 2005, her work in the field of tourism along with her community development interests brought to her attention another urgent issue, which is the preservation of the cultural heritage of Egypt. Since then, Manal and her partners became dedicated to operating only responsible travel to Egypt and the Middle East, and developing programs that foster a culture of peace between the travelers and the locals. Their latest project is launching an initiative known as egyptcharity.org which will collect information on as many of the NGOs, voluntourism and related initiatives in Egypt as possible to be available for all travelers. In the past five years, Manal has conducted voluntary work with United Nations organizations, earned her PHD degree, and pursued more studies in the field of Peace & Conflict studies. Manal is a regular speaker in different events related to the travel industry and History & Politics of the Middle East.


Ms. Narantsetseg (Nara) Delgersuren, General Manager, Juulchin World Tours Cooperation (Mongolia)

Ms. Narantsetseg Delgersuren is the General Manager at Juulchin World Tours Corporation in Mongolia. She originally completed her first degree in English language from the School of Foreign Service in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  Nara continued her education at the Utah Valley State College, USA majoring in business management. Having gained 5 years of working experience in the USA in administration, in 2005 she came back to her country and started to work at Juulchin World Tours as a marketing manager and since 2013 as the general manager.


Ms. Milena S. Nikolova, PhD, Assistant Professor of Marketing at American University in Bulgaria

Milena S. Nikolova is a full-time faculty member at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) where she teaches in the Executive MBA Program and the undergraduate program in business. Her academic and research interests are in the area of marketing strategy, behavioral economics and experiential learning.

In addition to academic teaching, Milena works as an independent consultant and analyst in the field of travel and tourism. She has been engaged in projects in over 20 countries across Eastern Europe, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. She is a regular author of country-level tourism market analyses for a leading global provider of consumer and market research.

Milena holds a PhD in Marketing  and Sustainable Tourism from The George Washington University School of Business in Washington, DC and MS in Social and Organizational Psychology from Sofia University.


Ms. Ethna Murphy, Tourism Industry Consultant, Product Innovation, Development & Cooperation

Twenty eight years of extensive experience in leading national and international tourism development  projects, a proven track record in the design, delivery and management of innovative tourism development initiatives that have delivered high quality and distinctive holiday experiences.  Ethna led the  model for  signature adventure projects, including the leading the bid for Ireland to host the Adventure Travel World Summit 2014 and has designed and secured funding for many culture and heritage projects.  She is currently leading a team of consultants to develop a iconic Lighthouse experience for the Island of Ireland and is supporting the development of Little Museum of Dublin and City of a Thousand Welcomes as a non executive board member.


Ms. Christina ter Braak, Founder, Silk Road Tourism Consulting

Christina ter Braak is a passionate advocate for Turkmenistan’s tourism industry, having spent nearly twenty years of experience working in Central Asia’s tourism industry. Ms ter Braak has held various management positions and organizational roles in the sector since completing two MAs in Russian Studies and International Relations. Born in the Netherlands, Christina worked as a Dutch tour guide as a Tour Leader for five seasons, accompanying more than 200 Dutch and Belgians through Central Asia. More recently, Christina has worked for a Turkmen travel agency providing marketing and product development support and guiding special projects. She now runs a successful consultancy, Silk Road Tourism Consulting, working with local travel agencies in Central Asia to provide marketing and product development assistance and organizational advice and support. 

Read more about the adventure tourism segment in the UNWTO Global Report on Adventure Tourism, available for download here.

To access photos of the event, please click here




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