#Social Silk Road Seminar at WTM London 2015: The rise of experiential travel and the booking revolution

19 Nov 15

#Social Silk Road Seminar at WTM London 2015: The rise of experiential travel and the booking revolution

Organized by UNWTO, Travel Perspective and supported by WTM London

After the success of last year's Social Silk Road session, which looked at ‘Is the guidebook dead?', the 2015 edition of the #Social Silk Road seminar held on 4 November, looked at how changing traveller trends are shaping the booking process. The Silk Road offers an enormous wealth of experiences from horse-riding along the Eurasian steppe, to staying with nomads in yurts and trekking in the Gobi desert, but are they always available where travellers are searching? This session examined how emerging destinations are transitioning to a digital world. The panel looked at the modern path to purchase and discuss how Silk Road destinations can leverage from the increasing number of consumers seeking personalised, local and transformative travel experiences.

Read the full summary of the seminar by Travel Perspective here

Click here to download the programme

Featured speakers:

Ms. Alla Peressolova - Head of UNWTO Silk Road Programme


Ms. Peressolova has been working for UNWTO for over twenty years and is currently in charge of two Programmes at UNWTO – Fairs Programme and Silk Road Programme. Ms Peressolova is responsible for the UNWTO relations with the major international fairs, including WTM London, ITB Berlin, FITUR Madrid, Intourmarket Moscow and ATM Dubai. She is in charge of such successful events as the Ministers’ Summit, which gathers over 100 ministers of tourism every year at WTM, London. Since 2010, she has also been responsible for the UNWTO Silk Road Programme.

Mr. Mark Frary - Co-Founder, Travel Perspective

Mr. Frary writes the weekly On Your Side travel advice column in the Sunday Times and is a regular contributor to national newspapers, magazines and specialist publications on travel, technology and business. He is also a regular speaker on travel and future trends on the conference circuit. Mr. Frary also gives expert advice to travel and tourism businesses on their social media and communications strategies and has won numerous awards for his work.

Ms. Katy Xu - Vice President Greater China and North Asia, BBC Advertising


As Vice President, Greater China & North Asia, Ms. Xu is responsible for BBC’s Advertising business in Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the Philippines among others. She is currently based in Hong Kong. Ms. Xu’s key achievements over her 15-year career in international media include helping emerging Asian brands understand the international media landscape and consumers, bridging the culture gap between the East and the West, and facilitate the conversation between Asian brands and global media. Ms. Xu holds a Master of Economics from the National University of Singapore.


Ms. Mónica Clemente - Senior Manager Corporate Strategy, Amadeus


Ms. Clemente leads Global Research for Amadeus within the Innovation and Ventures team in Corporate Strategy. She is a market research professional with more than 20 years of experience in the sector having worked in leading companies both in the agency and the client side in areas such as advertising, customer satisfaction, panels or consumer trends. Currently Ms. Clemente is driving the Amadeus Traveller Trend Observatory, that was launched in 2012. This key corporate initiative ensures Amadeus understands the traveler (ultimate customer), reinforcing the culture of customer understanding in the innovation and development process and supporting Amadeus positioning in ‘Shaping the Future of Travel’.

Mr. Andreas Janz - Deputy Managing Director, China Tours

Mr. Janz is Deputy Managing Director of China Tours, Germany´s leading specialist for China travel. Apart from offering a wide variety of package tours and unique FIT offerings, China Tours is the only tour operator that offers a variety of contiguous travel routes along the ancient Silk Road from Europe to China and from China to Europe. Founded in 1998 China Tours today is particularly famous for its vintage car Rallies from Germany to China, over 50 days, along 13000km and through 8 countries. New Silk Road projects also include a luxury bus trip along the Silk Road from Germany to China as well as for the past few years the burgeoning Chinese market of self-drive guests. Born in 1973, Mr. Janz has lived in China for over 10 years, knows the country extensively and harbors a passion for Silk Road travel, especially China’s western regions.

Mr. Gil Harel - Vice President of Business Development, Gogobot

Mr. Harel has traveled internationally as far back as he can remember. He was born in Los Angeles, but has called Israel, Paris, London, Las Vegas, Seattle and, most recently, New York home. Before Gogobot, Mr. Harel led business development at Como (an app building platform). He has co-founded two companies: BiteHunter (a real-time location-based mobile app that enables people to purchase dining deals) and DiningFever.com (which let restaurants publish and promote their own exclusive dining discounts to generate business and attract customers). He also spent several years in the travel and consulting sectors holding positions at Expedia, Ernst & Young’s hospitality group and Isrotel (a leading hotel chain in Israel). Mr. Harel earned his MBA from Cornell and Essec University.

Mr. Manolis Psarros - Managing Director, TOPOSOPHY

Mr. Psarros is a tourism destination management and marketing consultant whose experience mainly focuses on tourism boards and DMOs strategic planning and operations support, place marketing strategies and campaign management, product development, digital tourism strategies and EU-funded tourism-related programs. He has been directly involved in shaping the first DMO (City of Athens CVB) in Greece, which he served as a Tourism Development Director. Mr. Psarros is the Managing Director of TOPOSOPHY, an integrated destination marketing agency which is a business unit of ATCOM Internet & Multimedia. His international experience includes programs and consultancies in Greece, Italy, Portugal, France, Finland, Denmark, Slovenia, Russia, Mexico, Armenia and Kenya, among others.

To see this event listed on WTM London's official conference programme, click here.

For more information contact: silkroad@unwto.org

Organized in collaboration with: