People, Travel

Iran Willing to Host Silk Road Tourism Ministers

Iran Willing to Host Silk Road Tourism MinistersIran Willing to Host Silk Road Tourism Ministers

The 2015 UNWTO Silk Road Ministers’ Meeting was held on the sidelines of the ITB Berlin travel trade show, chaired by the UNWTO director general, Taleb D. Rifa’i.

Iran voiced readiness to host the next year’s tourism minister’s meeting of members of the UNSECO Silk Road program, CHTN reported.

The Silk Road ministers’ meeting focused on ‘strengthening cooperation through transnational route development’ and discussed important developments with regards trans-boundary routes across the Silk Road regions, including the inscription of the first Silk Road Heritage Corridor on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Verotour project, the Maritime Silk Road and the Spice Route project, amongst others.    

The meeting is held concurrently to the ITB Berlin event each year.  This year, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Masoud Soltanifar, was present along with his tourism deputy, Morteza Rahmani Movahed, and ICHHTO officials and experts on countries in the Silk Road region.

Soltanifar condemned the attacks on Iraq’s cultural and historical heritage sites and museums by the terrorist group, IS.  He outlined Iran’s new policies and approaches toward tourism, emphasizing the expansion of collaboration between Iran and Silk Road countries.

The UNWTO Silk Road Program is a collaborative initiative designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic route. It aims to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local Silk Road communities, while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of the route’s natural and cultural heritage. Additionally, it is working to foster greater cooperation between Silk Road countries and regions, with the established aim of creating a seamless and memorable Silk Road travel experience.

The program has three main areas of focus including marketing and promotion, destination management and capacity building, and travel facilitation. It currently comprises 31 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, DPR Korea, Rep. Korea, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan (as of June 2013).