TripAdvisor identifies Silk Road appeal

BANGKOK, 13 March 2017: UNESCO World Heritage sites, local foods and festivals are the top attractions for travellers exploring the Silk Road countries according to the latest findings by TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor presented the findings of the TripAdvisor Travel Trends for the Silk Road 2017 for the second year running at the 7th UNWTO Silk Road Ministers Meeting held at ITB Berlin,  last week.

The survey assessed travel preferences, habits and interests along the Silk Road and concluded the main attractions were World Heritage sites, food and festivals.

Survey findings were based mainly on TripAdvisor feedback and reviews.  The emphasis on heritage, food and festivals will ensure the vast network of routes, that make up the ancient Silk Road, are unlikely to be overwhelmed by mass tourism.

The Silk Road is vast collection of ancient trading routes linking Europe through the eastern gateway of Istanbul, Turkey,  to China, via the Middle East, central Asia, South Asia and eventually reaching ancient cities in western China and all the way to cities on the eastern seaboard.

The annual UNWTO event attempts to foster sustainable tourism development along the Silk Road.

Hosted on the sidelines of ITB Berlin, this year’s  agenda focused on the themes linked to International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.

Sessions involved 31 countries that have  links to the Silk Road and focused on how they could ensure tourism contributed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing the meeting, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai said: “2015 was a landmark year with the approval of the universal SDGs by the international community. Tourism can contribute to all 17 Goals. Indeed, if properly managed, tourism can positively help address all the interconnected challenges facing people and planet including ending poverty, promoting gender equality, fostering jobs and inclusive growth and fighting climate change.”

Led by moderator,  BBC’s Christa Larwood, the main session allowed ministers to share their views and experiences in promoting sustainable tourism, in areas of heritage protection, community participation, sustainable business practices and the development of niche tourism itineraries and products.

Two presentations, the celebration of the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan and community integration in West Bengal (India), highlighted the potential and benefits to be derived from a sustainable tourism path.

The UNWTO Silk Road Programme was designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along historic Silk Road routes. Currently the programme engages 33 UNWTO Members States, UN agencies, UNWTO affiliate members, as well as an extensive network of private sector stakeholders.

The 7th UNWTO Silk Road Task Force meeting will be held in Valencia, Spain on 30 to 31 March 2017.

(Source: UNWTO)