Western Silk Road Tourism Initiative

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has officially launched the UNWTO/EU Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative, an ambitious tourism project aimed at revitalizing the Silk Road heritage located in the European region,  from the Caspian Sea, around the Black Sea and along parts of the Mediterranean basin.
The project is designed to create new opportunities for destinations and tourism stakeholders interested in cross-border partnerships and in developing novel products focused on untapped Silk Road heritage. Within an 18-month timeframe, following key milestones will be achieved:
Phase 1: Development of an Exploratory Research on the Potential of the Western Silk Road and Action Plan for Development of the Western Silk Road. The Exploratory research examines the tourism potential of the Western Silk Road, studies existing usage of the Silk Road identity, audits connections through tangible and intangible heritage in key destinations and develops concepts to strengthen the use of the Silk Road Brand to bring benefits. The Action Plan assesses the potential of a Western Silk Road tourism development and provide an overview of promising Western Silk Road tourism segments, such as available sites and local heritage along with tools to enable both the private and public sector to use the Silk Road identity within tourism development and marketing.
For this phase, the research methods employed include: Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, Focus Groups from micro to macro level, and National SWOT analyses in cooperation with Universities from Western Silk Road countries.
Phase 2: Organization of two Western Silk Road Capacity Building Workshops. To be held in 2017, these capacity building workshops will aim to attract as many interested stakeholders as possible - Silk Road destinations (national, regional and local), tour operators, SMEs, academic institutions, etc. - and focus on joint training and the development of new tourism partnerships.
The 1st International Western Silk Road Workshop is to be held in Alexandroupoli, Greece on 26-27 April 2017. The workshop is jointly organized by UNWTO, the Ministry of Tourism of Greece and the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace of Greece. 
The 2nd Western Silk Road Workshop will take place in Bulgaria in June 2017. 
Both these phases will be accompanied by the establishment of a Western Silk Road Working Group open to public and private stakeholders alike. The overall aim of the workgroup is to ensure the efficacy and long-term viability of the project through active support and participation, such as assistance in the development of the handbook through input and ideas, participation in the capacity building workshops and utilization of the Western Silk Road brand in future tourism projects partnerships.
Additional information:
08/2016 - 12/2017