The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), together with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia and the World Cities Scientific Development Alliance (WCSDA), organized the International Silk Road Conference on Nomadic Tourism and Sustainable Cities in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on 13-15 October 2016.
The conference gathered Ministers and high-level officials from nine UNWTO Silk Road Member States, official representatives from Silk Road regions, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and UNWTO Affiliate Members to address the potential of nomadic and sustainable city tourism. The event, officially opened by the Chairman of the State Great Hural of Mongolia, Mr. Enkhbold Miyegombo, attracted over 350 delegates from 21 countries.
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The Silk Road has become one of the most visited international travel routes. Despite such growth, an increase in visitation also brings challenges, such as the protection of the environment and the maintenance of necessary heritage standards. Bearing in mind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and the upcoming International Year for Sustainable Development for Tourism 2017, participants discussed these challenges and the large potential of developing nomadic tourism trails and products.
“The sustainable growth of nomadic tourism requires a balance between tourism promotion, heritage management and respect for local communities. It requires the collective engagement and cooperation of Silk Road destinations, the private sector and the civil society. With these ingredients in place, we can produce responsible nomadic tourism products to diversify Silk Road tourism and achieve the adequate tourism development for the countries involved.” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai in opening the conference.
“Today we welcome, with our uttermost respect and pride, all delegates to the International Silk Road Conference on Nomadic Tourism and Sustainable Cities. We believe that the great and historic Silk Road will be revived as an exciting route full of travelers and adventurers, hereby becoming a symbol for mutual understanding and peace among nations in the new millennium.” said the Minister of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, Ms. Oyunkhorol Dulamsuren during the opening ceremony.
The Silk Road countries agreed that, while the Silk Road presents extensive opportunities, long-term success will depend upon increased collaboration in the three key areas identified in the Silk Road Action Plan: marketing and promotion, capacity building and destination management, and travel facilitation. UNWTO would like to thank Turkish Airlines for supporting this event.