The onsite course of the UNWTO Silk Road Training and Capacity Building Programme gathers representatives from 12 Silk Road countries in Madrid and Valencia, Spain
The onsite course of the UNWTO Silk Road Training and Capacity Building Programme gathers representatives from 12 Silk Road countries in Madrid and Valencia, Spain.
In a ground-breaking project the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has joined with its training arm the Andorra based UNWTO.Themis Foundation and the University of Valencia, Spain to create a cross border training course for representatives of twelve (12) of the thirty-three (33) Member States in the UNWTO Silk Road Programme. Set up in 2010, the aim of the Programme is to join countries of the ancient Silk Road together to increase cross border sustainable tourism and foster cooperation and ease of travel across countries stretching from Mongolia, China and Japan in the east to Greece, Italy and Spain in the west.
For the first time UNWTO, facilitated by Turkish Airlines, flew twenty-two (22) tourism officials and experts to Madrid for an introductory meeting and a welcome from the UNWTO Secretary-General Mr. Taleb Rifai who said that the Silk Road is one of the best tools to implement the values of tourism. Ms. Olga Memedic representing the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) strongly supported the training programme and called for increased cooperation between the Silk Road countries and mentioned that the training is a good example of partnership.
Moving on by AVE fast train to Valencia – itself a journey which was an education for many participants – the course was established for ten days courtesy of the University of Valencia. As the Vice President for Training and Education at the University Ramon Lopez Martin said at the opening session it was the City of Valencia and its Region with its history of trade, particularly in silk, that was to be the proper classroom for the training sessions. He therefore welcomed the participation of the Valencia Regional Government, the City and the Fundacion Turismo Valencia, in the course which was established over months of work by the parties involved.
Lecturers on the course included many form the University and from private industry. Daniela Wagner represented the Travel Weekly Group from London who were co-sponsors of the event whilst others talked over a video link from Mexico and the United Kingdom. However, taking the advice of those from the University and with considerable help from the City of Valencia the course students, who came from government ministries and tourism boards as well as private industry and universities, visited the sites of the City and spent time in the Museum and College of High Silk Art and the National Museum of Ceramics where they were privileged to get an advance view of the new ‘Los tiempos de la seda’ exhibition of ancient silks.
Strongly supported by the sister UN agencies – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), this innovative training provided participants with technical expertise, connecting it to practical work towards the development of trans-national tourism projects.
Alla Peressolova, Head of the UNWTO Silk Road Programme said she was proud of this training initiative ‘as this programme is a trans-national project which creates co-operation across borders and joins together those engaged in tourism in all the countries involved. It’s an excellent example of a public/private partnership which brings direct results. I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project and we look forward to it bringing tangible results and being the first of many such training sessions. The history of the Silk Roads was written decades ago but now, here in Valencia, we have creating a future for the Silk Road and its vital role in trade, tourism and peace’.
The UNWTO Silk Road Training and Capacity Building Programme is an official activity of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and, as such, works towards the objectives contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Participants in this new training course came from Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Greece, Egypt, Bulgaria, Russia, Italy and Spain itself.