7th UNWTO Silk Road Task Force Meeting
7th UNWTO Silk Road Task Force Meeting
The 7th UNWTO Silk Road Task Force Meeting was held in Valencia, Spain on 30-31 March 2017. Held within the framework of the International Year of Sustainable Development for Tourism 2017, public and private Silk Road Task Force representatives from 24 countries convened to discuss strategies and best-practice examples on how to adapt the Silk Road to the challenges and opportunities of the globalized tourism age.
At the opening ceremony, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, declared “UNWTO is extremely grateful for the support and commitment of the region and the city of Valencia to our work and mission. As the only United Nations Agency with its Headquarters in Spain, it is always a pleasure to organize a meeting in our host country - a country that understands the value and benefits to be derived from tourism.”
The opening ceremony also counted upon the presence of the Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó i Canut, and the Valencian Minister for Tourism, Francesc Colomer, who underlined the international dimension of the meeting and the importance of the Silk Road as a vehicle for peaceful exchange and development: “The Silk Road extends far-beyond the boundaries of geography. As a route, it touches upon our inner self, thus making us more tolerant, humble and cultured.”
The meeting focused on the three key pillars of the Silk Road Action Plan: i) marketing and promotion ii) destination management and capacity building and iii) travel facilitation, while a specialised workshop session was also dedicated to the development of the Western link of the Silk Road. Greece, the host of the upcoming First Western Silk Road Workshop (Alexandroupolis, Greece; on 26-27 April 2017), and Bulgaria, who has expressed its interest in hosting the Second Workshop, underlined their support and commitment to an initiative aimed at reviving Silk Road heritage located across Europe.
Important input was also contributed by UNWTO Affiliate Member, TripAdvisor, who presented the findings of the TripAdvisor Travel Trends for the Silk Road 2017, and by Eulogio Bordas, President of THR, who addressed the challenges of joint Silk Road marketing. The Spanish Institute for Quality Tourism, the International Tourism Consulting Group - SOENT, the World Federation of Tourist Guides Association (WFTGA), the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the University of Valencia also contributed valuable input to the meeting.
Overall, the meeting showcased the good work being carried out by Valencia in terms of Silk Road promotion and public-private cooperation. Since Spain’s inclusion in the UNWTO Silk Road Programme in 2015, best-practice examples implemented by the Valencian region have included branding Valencia as the “city of Silk” in 2016 and the rehabilitation of important Silk Road heritage located within the region.
The 7th UNWTO Silk Road Task Force Meeting was jointly organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Agència Valenciana del Turisme and the Fundación Turismo València. Turkish Airlines supported the event and shared its actions in promoting route development and connectivity across the Silk Road.
Presentations and Videos:
Videos shown during the meeting:
- Valencia Monumental
- 2017 International of Sustainable Tourism for Development: Travel, Enjoy, Respect
- Capella de Ministrers Carles Magraner by Agència Valenciana del Turisme
- Comunitat Valenciana - YouTube channel
- Overlanding the Silk Road
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
Workshop 1: Marketing and Promotion:
- "TripAdvisor Travel Trends for the Silk Road" by Ms. Helena Egan, Global Director of Industry Relations, TripAdvisor
- "Valencia's role on the Silk Road" by Mr. Joan-Carles Cambrils, Deputy Director, Fundación Turismo Valencia
- "Successful Joint Marketing for the Silk Road" by Mr. Eulogio Bordas, President, THR
- "Join the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development" by Ms. Elena Dubinia, UNWTO Silk Road Programme
- Social Media Competition
Workshop 2: Capacity Building and Destination Management:
- "The Silk Road as a case-study" by Ms. María Ruiz Arévalo, Agència Valenciana del Turisme
- "Valencian Silk: tangible and intangible heritage and the development of sustainable tourism" by Mr. Ricardo Franch, Ester Alba, María Dolores Pitarch, Daniel Muñoz and Rubén Arnandis, Universitat de València
- "Quality Standards on the Silk Road: How and Why?" by Ms. Maricruz Cádiz Gómez, Technical Director, Spanish Institute for Quality Tourism
- "Silk Road Tourism Development in Central Asia" by Mr. Frank Buerbaum, CEO, SOENT
Workshop 3: Raising Awareness for the Western Silk Road:
- "UNWTO/ EU Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative: a short overview" by Ms. Elena Dubinina, UNWTO Silk Road Programme
- Intervention by Ambassador Michael B. Christides, Secretary General, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Permanent International Secretariat (BSEC PERMIS)
- "Raising Awareness for the Western Silk Road: the case of Greece" by George Tziallas, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development, Ministry of Tourism of Greece
- "Engaging Universities along the Silk Road: the example of Valencia" by Mr. Palao Moreno, Vice Rector, International Relations and Cooperation (Part I) and Ms. Aurora Pedro, UNWTO Focal Point (Part II), University of Valencia
- "Transmitting Silk Road Heritage" by Ms. Ivana Ćuruvija, International Lead Trainer, World Federation of Tourist Guides Association (WFTGA)
Workshop 4: Update on Travel Facilitation:
- Fundación Turismo Valencia: "Oportunidades de València en la Ruta de la Seda"
- Fundación Turismo Valencia: "Valencia's Opportunities within the Silk Road"
- Agència Valenciana del Turisme - press note
- Generalitat Valenciana
- Turismo Valencia
- Turismo Valencia
- Viu València
- Valencia Plaza
- Valencia News
- THR - press note
- gtp headlines (Greece)
- Meeting Programme
- Conclusions of the meeting
- TripAdvisor Travel Trends for the Silk Road 2017
- Information on the 6th UNWTO Silk Road Task Force Meeting in Urmia (Iran) can be accessed here