The Silk Road, commonly known as the first global trade route in history, had a scope and importance far greater than the simple exchange of goods. Indeed, the myriad of interconnected routes served as a vehicle for the fruitful exchange of arts, religion, cultures, ideas and technology. Many important developments, in fields ranging from mathematics and philosophy to architecture and gastronomy, were only made possible thanks to the intrepidness of pioneers eager to explore and overcome man-made boundaries and natural determinants.

In present time, and building upon a natural and cultural wealth spanning thousands of years, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is in a position to revive and give a new significance to a route capable of transforming the way we think about and relate to travel. By collaborating in areas of mutual interest, Silk Road Member States and private sector tourism stakeholders are in a unique position to create new opportunities and tourism initiatives capable of favouring sustained and healthy growth.

With initiatives dating back to 1994, UNWTO was an early advocate of the tourism potential of the Silk Road. Today, 34 Silk Road Member States from Europe, Africa, Central Asia and Asia & the Pacific, in addition to UNWTO Affiliate Members from around the globe, work together to promote the Silk Road routes as a transnational tourism adventure.

Together we aim to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local communities, stimulate investment and promote the conservation of the route's natural and cultural heritage by focusing on following areas of work:

  • Marketing and promotion;
  • Capacity building and destination management;
  • Tourism route development; and
  • Silk Road tourism research.