News from the UNWTO at ITB Berlin. On this the 2oth Anniversary of the Samarkand Declaration on Silk Road Tourism, the 4th version of the UNWTO Silk Road Ministers discussed better facilitating visas to advance tourism along this famous trade route.
The UNWTO presented their Tourism Visa Openness Report for the Silk Road Countries, which lays out the progress of the initiative so far. The meeting of 21 ministers and other officials who represent Silk Road countries is imminently significant where business and cultural exchange, education, scientific and exchange experiences are concerned. The ITB Berlin meetings setting out to further facilitate new strategies. Support from ITB Berlin, the group continued with work begun back in 1994.
The short version of the initiative is, Silk Road officials discussing ways in which barriers to travel can be reduced, as well as ways in which touristic benefits can be stimulated. According to the press, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai opened the meeting by emphasizing the importance of a cooperative approach:
“Complicated visa processes are still a major barrier to the growth of the tourism sector, and as such a barrier to job creation and poverty alleviation. UNWTO welcomes the measures already taken by the Silk Road countries in this area and commends their strong commitment to further advancements, evident by the high level of participation in this Minister’s Meeting. Only by joint action can we fully unlock tourism’s potential as a driver of sustainable growth and regional integration along this unique historic route and transform barriers into opportunities”.
For readers interested in learning more about the UNWTO Silk Road initiative, please visit the main website.