UNWTO – Silk Road Programme to create a brand around Silk Road destinations

The Silk Road Programme, launched in 1993, is a collaborative tourist initiative promoted by UNTWO along the historical Silk Route. Its aim is to increase and improve sustainable tourism in order to maximise the benefits of tourism for local communities. Moreover, the programme aspires to attract stakeholders’ investments and to preserve the Silk Road historical and cultural heritage. Nowadays, 33 countries are involved in the Programme, which covers 12.000 km across 3 continents.


Source: UNWTO – Silk Road Programme

The cooperation promoted by the Programme aims to create a unique experience for tourists, offering a trip based on the natural and cultural heritage both in Land and Sea Routes.

The consequence of the Programme itself is the Silk Road Action Plan 2016/2017, divided in three key areas: marketing and promotion, capacity building and destination management, travel facilitation. The Plan is focused on promoting a sustainable type of tourism, travel experience, prosperity, mutual benefit, environment and peace and cultural understanding.

Some of the main activities of the Plan are creating a solid brand around the Silk Route, organising international and regional conferences and networking events, improving the cooperation between Silk Road Member States in order to facilitate travels across international borders.

In 2016, UNWTO officially announced the first phase of the UNWTO/EU Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative that aims at promoting the Silk Road European destinations and at creating new products around the cultural heritage. At Twissen we support this programme that is made up by two phases: developing a Western Silk Road Brand Research and Handbook and organising two Western Silk Road Capacity Building Workshops in 2017. In addition to this, a Western Silk Road Work Group will involve both private and public stakeholders to support the two phases.

In order to support the first phase of the initiative, UNWTO  invites organisations and individuals to complete the questionnaire at the following link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WesternSilkRoadStudy

At Twissen we observed that there are several tour operators that are already using the Silk Road Brand to promote tours and destinations. Moreover, there is an increasing awareness that there is an important potential both for destinations and operators to promote creative tourist product under the Western Silk Road brand.