Speakers - Final Presentations


Speakers - Presentations

On 1-3 August 2013, the historic city of Dunhuang hosted China’s biggest ever Silk Road tourism conference and festival. Leaders from the industry debated on how stakeholders could leverage from the Silk Road’s positioning to help rebuild the world’s most outstanding travel route. Please find below the presentations held at the conference, and discover how the Silk Road brand can be managed so as to raise the profile of its destinations and drive development that is sustainable, responsible and internationally competitive. The presentations, organized in panel sessions, cover a wide array of topics, including investment, travel facilitation, product development and strategies designed to safeguard the rich natural and cultural heritage of the historic route.

Keynote Session: Setting the Scene: the Silk Road Today

The Keynote Session was moderated by Dr. Victor Wee, Former Chairman, Tourism Malaysia

Panel Session 1: Creating a Stronger Business Environment for Growth

Tourism today directly and indirectly represents 9% of global GDP, and is responsible for around 235 million jobs, that is, one in twelve jobs worldwide. As to the Silk Road, commercial interest in the region has grown considerably over recent years. Stronger economies, improved infrastructure and connectivity, advances in information technology and enhanced mobility are creating new opportunities for tourism. The first panel session addressed these issues and discussed the measures that can be taken to create a better environment for business growth and foreign direct investment along the Silk Road.

The panel session was moderated by Mr. Wong Man Kong Peter, Executive Chairman, China Chamber of Tourism

Panel Session 2: The Role of Silk Road Cities

According to the UN, the world’s urban population is expected to reach the 5 billion mark by 2030. This will have a considerable impact on urban tourism, affecting areas ranging from infrastructure to resource and heritage management. Thus the realisation of the Silk Road’s tourism potential will largely depend on how the cities of the region are able adapt to the changing circumstances. By discussing guidelines and best-practices, the experts attending this panel session worked towards ensuring a consistent approach focused on the following key areas: the improvement of city infrastructure in order to facilitate travel and meet visitor interest, and strategies to enhance and interpret the heritage and cultural assets of the cities, hereby maximising visitor involvement, understanding and enjoyment.

The panel session was moderated by Mr. Peter DeBrine, Programme Specialist Sustainable Tourism, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Panel Session 3: Facilitating Travel to Reconnect the Silk Road

The Silk Road has been travelled along for centuries by conquerors, traders, missionaries, geographers and now, tourists. While one of the Silk Road’s key strengths is that it is a unique network of destinations, multiple barriers to the smooth cross-border movement of tourists complicate multi-destination tourism. Innovative approaches to cross-border management are required in order to strengthen the common ownership of the Silk Road and fortify economic and cultural exchange and prosperity. The third panel session discussed the challenges that  need to be overcome in order to facilitate travel along the Silk Road. It also looked at the benefits of governments working together with the private sector to foster growth and stimulate demand.

The panel session was moderated by Mr. Suman Billa, Secretary to Government, Department of Tourism Kerala, India

Panel Session 4: Addressing Environmental Concerns and Safeguarding Heritage

The Silk Road is the earliest and one of the most impressive examples of the benefits arising from cultural exchange and integration. For over two millennia highly diverse civilizations engaged in the trade of goods and knowledge, the results of which can be encountered in innumerable historical and cultural sites spread across the region. Today these routes, or heritage corridors as they have been identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), can offer multiple benefits to local communities through the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism development. In the fourth panel session, participants discussed strategies and best-practices that could help strike a balance between the promotion of World Heritage sites for the purpose of tourism, and the protection and conservation of these sites for generations to come.

The panel session was moderated by Mr. Xu Jing, UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Panel Session 5: Developing and Enhancing the Silk Road Product

UNWTO research shows that the Silk Road stimulates more discussions online than any other travel route, accounting for approximately 30% of all discussions globally. In order to channel such a high level of interest, the UNWTO Silk Road Programme, in cooperation with the participating Member States, has been developing and implementing a global marketing, communication and product development strategy designed to benefit all participating Silk Road destinations. Challenges, however, do arise when working towards establishing a product that unites so many different stakeholders, operates on so many policy levels and is subject to continuous technological innovations. In the fifth panel session, participants drew upon these issues and presented best-practice examples and strategies that will help strengthen and establish the Silk Road as an internationally renowned and recognized tourism brand.

The panel session was moderated by Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Chair, PATA China Chapter and Founder, Digital Innovation Asia

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