Republic of San Marino becomes 31st Member State to join UNWTO Silk Road Programme
In July 2013, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was pleased to welcome the Republic of San Marino as the 31st Member State to join its Silk Road Programme.
The decision to join came following an official visit to UNWTO Headquarters by the Minister of Tourism of San Marino, Mr. Teodoro Lonfernini, on 17 June 2013. During his visit to Madrid, Mr. Lonfernini was able to gain first-hand insight into collaborative projects currently being implemented by UNWTO to promote sustainable tourism development along the Silk Road. A main topic discussed was how the UNWTO Silk Road Programme provides a platform for Member States to work together on three key focus areas: marketing and promotion, destination management and capacity building, and travel facilitation, thus raising the profile of a unique and diverse network of destinations extending from Italy to Japan.
San Marino is a small state surrounded by Italy with a number of historic sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Historically a great beneficiary of the maritime trading routes linking Asia to Europe, San Marino has also played an important role in the cultural development of the Silk Road. As Mr Lonfernini explained: “[San Marino] already existed in 1275 when Marco Polo travelled to China for the first time. It already had its own democratic institutions with the election of the Captains Regent every six months. This can be a small but significant contribution to the Silk Road Programme, both in terms of tourism and history.” Ms Alla Peressolova, UNWTO Silk Road Programme Manager, concurred: “We are very pleased to welcome the Republic of San Marino as our 31st Member State. Historically, San Marino contributed to the development of the Silk Road and I am sure that it will play a key role in supporting the development of this leading network of tourism destinations.”
UNWTO officially welcomed the Republic of San Marino as a new Silk Road Member State during the Keynote Session on the opening day of the 6th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism, which was held in Dunhuang, China on 1-3 August 2013.