The UNWTO Silk Road project continues to bear fruits, as an increasing number of regions adhere, and are assisted in promotion of their tourist destinations.
Most recently, UNWTO Executive Director Zhu Shanzhong was one of the main speakers at the opening ceremony of the 4th Silk Road International Cultural Expo 2019, a month-long event held throughout the Gansu Province of China.
As part of the opening ceremony, a Letter of Intent was signed between UNWTO and the Gansu Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, in which both parties expressed their will to cooperate closely to raise tourism skills and competencies, increase tourism length-of- stay and spending, and raise international awareness of the Gansu Province as a key Silk Road destination.
Earlier this year, at ITB Berlin, the Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department Uzbekistan successfully hosted two events: the 9th UNWTO Silk Road Ministers’ Meeting, and the 8th UNWTO Silk Road Tour Operators’ Forum. During the open debate, which counted upon the input of 20 Silk Road countries, important strategies were discussed that will allow UNWTO to plan activities for the 2019-2020 period. All of sustainable nature, the proposed initiatives aim towards making the historic Silk Road routes the most important transnational tourism route of the 21st century.
A “stand-out” ITB Asia exhibitor featured on the Silk Road is Uzbekistan. Described by the Telegraph newspaper as the “most fascinating country you’ve never been to”, this central Asian nation is opening up to the world, making entry visa-free for visitors from 86 countries (including China) on 1 January 2020.
“Uzbekistan is mainly a Muslim country, with world renowned Shrines in Silk Road places like Tashkent and Bukhara. Samarkand is home to dozens of magnificent tombs. Notable figures like the emperor Tamerlane, the astronomer Ulughbek and Kusam Ibn Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who brought Islam to this land in the 7th Century, are all buried here,” explains Bahruz Hamzaev, Strategy Advisor to the State Committee for Tourism Development of Uzbekistan.
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Photo: Panorama of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan