Western Silk Road University Challenge

Western Silk Road University Challenge

Western Silk Road University Challenge 

UNWTO, in cooperation with ISTHIA – Toulouse School of Tourism, Hospitality Management and Food Studies, University of Toulouse – Jean Jaurès, organized the Western Silk Road University Challenge, a research workshop that took place in Toulouse, France during the academic year 2017 - 2018. 

The Western Silk Road University Challenge was the first collaboration between UNWTO and ISTHIA, one of the leading French institutions in the field of tourism, hospitality and gastronomy education and the member of the Western Silk Road Tourism Academic Network.

The university challenge was carried out as a spin-off project of the joint EU - UNWTO Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative, and focused on Frances' Silk Road tourism potential and the creation of a Silk Road label system and brand. 

On 16 October 2017, Ms Elena Dubinina presented the objectives and activities of the UNWTO's Silk Road initiative, and officially launched the University Challenge. The PowerPoint Presentation can be accessed here

During the academic year 2017-2018, the bachelor students, guided by ISTHIA professors, analysed the historic involvement of the French territories within the Silk Road network, assessed the Silk Road impact on French culture, and prepared an inventory of Western Silk Road heritage in France.

Simultaneously, the  Master students identified strengths and weaknesses of the potential label system of the Western Silk Road. The students developed categories and Western Silk Road certification criteria, and they also applied their creativity in designing a possible label for the route.     

The final presentation of the outcomes of the Western Silk Road Challenge took place on 27-28 March 2018 in Toulouse. This project was an excellent way of bringing UNWTO, its Member States, academia and students together to share ideas and devise practical strategies on how to develop new tourism products along the Silk Road routes.