London (United Kingdom) – December 3, 2015 (travelindex) – The Silk Road is one of the world’s most powerful brands and 2016 will see a hugely increased awareness of the route through both old and new media. Both BBC Travel and BBC4 will be showing Silk Road documentaries next year. And in addition to the massive television exposure, technology and social media are also expected to enhance coverage of the region, say travel specialists. Travelindex Media is preparing the launch, in early 2016, of its SilkRoadTourism.com website offering rich, multi-media content combined with the most comprehensive resource on tourism offering along the Silk Road.
Around 60 tourism executives gathered at the UNWTO seminar to discuss maximizing potential of the Silk Road, and join in a debate on the rise of experiential travel. UNWTO Silk Road activities, Programme Manager Alla Peressolova said a recent Forbes report highlighted The Silk Road as a more powerful brand than Disney and Coca Cola.
The UNWTO Silk Road Programme is a collaborative initiative designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road route. 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. Additionally, it is working to foster greater co- operation between Silk Road countries and regions, with the established aim of creating a seamless and memorable Silk Road travel experience.
Katy Xu, vice-president (Greater China and North Asia) of BBC Advertising, provided further market intelligence on the Silk Road, drawing on the results of an online survey that the BBC launched in 2015 in collaboration with UNWTO. Historic, cultural and interesting were the adjectives most used by people to describe The Silk Road. The survey also revealed that among the 33 countries the UNWTO works with on its Silk Road programme, China is the one most associated with the route.
More than two-thirds of people quizzed expressed an interest in visiting The Silk Road, with the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, ancient ruins, tombs and historical museums highlighted as the things most want to see.
It was a far-ranging and fascinating discussion of how experiential travel is becoming more expected by the traveller seeking ‘real’ contact and communication along the way – and how they are sharing those experiences.
The Silk Road is ripe for such travel. The survey showed, for example, that 81% of visitors to Uzbekistan were attracted by The Silk Road connection. The country is, with Tajikistan, one of the Silk Road Heritage Corridors to China set to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016.
The seminar rounded up after an hour with networking among the audience, which included UNWTO Executive Director Zoltan Somogyi and representatives of the newest Silk Road Programme members, Spain and Romania.
Silk Road Programme
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Calle Capitán Haya, 42, 28020 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 91 567 81 00
Fax: +34 91 571 37 33