The 2014 China Xi'an Silk Road International Tourism Expo is gradually building into the high-scale exhibition and full programme that was intended when the idea was proposed – with 75% of the spaces now booked and 21 countries and 20 travel agencies and corporations now signed up to sell their packages and discuss proposals – and the grand welcoming ceremony is now less than two months away. What makes these ongoing developments even more exciting is the fact that the UNWTO's Silk Road Program is now on-board too.
With the announcement of this new partnership, the expo looks set to tackle cultural and economic issues with a much greater force.
The presence of the UNWTO at the event will be appreciated by many because of their continued work to ensure the preservation of the route and the expertise they can bring to the event. This Silk Road Program was set up back in 1993 as a way of aiding sustainable tourism development on the route; it is now more than twenty years later and we are finally seeing an international expo. Their programme manager, Ms. Alla Peressolova will be personally appearing to help bring some new ideas on Silk Road Tourism as she takes part in discussions on the theme of Silk Road Tourism and urban development. These talks are just part of a much larger event, which also looks at trade opportunities and cultural exhibitions, but they are seen as the ideal platform for some of the leading experts – both local and international – to cooperate and work towards a better future for the region.
The main aim of this UNWTO programme is quite simple; all these experts want is to encourage the protection of the Silk Road's heritage while also stimulating economic activity between the different nations along its route. The importance of economics has not gone unnoticed by those in charge of the CXSRITE and it has long been on the mind of the nation's President who has already proposed the creation of the Silk Road Economic Belt. As for the conservation of cultural heritage, this is also looking promising as the region was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in June of this year, a move that will be welcomed by all those keen to preserve the Terracotta Army of Shaanxi Province, Dayan Pagoda and the natural wonders of Cuihua and Huashan. At the expo there will be a large focus on the region's tourist attractions – most likely with the intent of using their cultural appeal and their ability to bring in revenue – and there is also a section reserved for the agencies, airlines and hotels that would benefit from re-establishing the road.
This new partnership and the proposed discussions mean more hope for the success of the event.
The future of the CXSRITE as an annual event that can really aid the development of the Silk Road strongly depends on deals and partnerships with many international exhibitors and experts such as the UNWTO's Silk Road Program. The stronger the support and presence of these authorities and guest speakers, the better the chance that they can work towards new initiatives for the development of the region – economically, culturally and as a strong tourism region.