Via Francigena meets the Silk Road: an opportunity to develop new project in sustainable tourism

The European Association Via Francigena Ways has attended the seminar with Russian regions on the Silk Road in Moscow (Russia). An international event to exchange good practices about  sustainble tourism and cultural heritage.

The Silk Road Seminar for the Russian regions, held on 12 March 2017 in Moscow, was jointly organised by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Federal Agency for Tourism, with the support of Intourmarket tourism fair.

The seminar assessed the potential of developing Silk Road tourism itineraries and products in Russia. Attended by representatives of the Russian regions and tourism stakeholders from the public and private sector, additional issues discussed included the creation of competitive tourism products and joint Silk Road marketing and branding opportunities. 
In his welcome speech, Mr. Zoltán Somogyi, UNWTO Executive Director, underlined the importance of the Russian regions in the development of the historic Silk Road routes, as well as the tourism potential of interregional thematic itineraries, both within Russia and throughout the Silk Road. 

The seminar, moderated by Mr. Leonid Gelibterman, President of the International Center of Wine and Gastronomy, counted upon valuable input from a wide array of stakeholders, including Gavin Bell, an international tourism expert that presented the "Results of the Western Silk Road brand research" and Luca Bruschi, director of the European Association Via Francigena Ways -  Council of Europe Cultural Route, who shared his insights on how to develop and manage a tourism route. Good practices in promotion, communication and capacity building of the route as well the mechanisms of its governance were presented during this panel. Via Francigena and Western Silk Road certainly can develop together many common projects to support trans-border tourism.

As to local attendance, the regions of Astrakhan and Caucasus, and the republics of Dagestan, Tatarstan, Altai and Buryatia, showcased innovative tourism offers based on their Silk Road heritage.
The seminar proved an excellent platform to exchange and showcase good practices. Rich gastronomy, natural splendour and intangible heritage were identified as key elements that will drive the development of Silk Road tourism within Russia and starting point for the cooperation with new European routes.

The UNWTO Silk Road Programme is a collaborative initiative designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road routes. It aims to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local Silk Road communities, while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of the route's natural and cultural heritage. Currently the Silk Road Programme engages 33 UNWTO Members States, UN agencies, UNWTO Affiliate Members, as well as an extensive network of private sector stakeholders. 

More info:
http://silkroad.unwto.org/

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