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Baseline Study on the Silk Road Cultural Heritage



State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education “Russian-Armenian University”


Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Research Committee – Special Account for Research Funds, School of Economic Sciences

State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education “Russian-Armenian University”

University of Economics – Varna

International Centre for Social Research and Policy Analysis

National Association for Rural, Ecological and Cultural Tourism, Tulcea Branch

Summary description and objective of the work package

The plethora of traditions and cultures along the Silk Road countries and regions has become a major motivation for travel, with travelers seeking to engage with Silk Road cultural heritage. The new UNWTO tourism development initiative towards the Western Silk Road planning area, from the Caspian Sea, around the Black Sea and along Europe and parts of the Mediterranean basin, is expected to stimulate new strong business opportunities in the rising Silk Road tourism segment. Aligned with the overall Programme’s objective, the research activities to be conducted within the baseline study on the Silk Road Cultural Heritage aim to facilitate the strengthening of business opportunities and transnational synergies in the tourism and cultural sectors among SILC project areas involved.

Tourism stakeholders need to acquire awareness of the Silk Road cultural heritage, while culturepreneurs must endeavor to comprehend the entrepreneurial framework of Silk Road tourism. Towards this direction the baseline study on the Silk Road Cultural Heritage include actions of identification, documentation, classification, evaluation and reporting of Silk Road tangible and intangible cultural heritage along the project areas, in order to foster the sustainable development of Silk Road tourism by incorporating cultural assets management.

Russian-Armenian University (RAU) is the Lead Partner of the baseline study on the Silk Road Cultural Heritage. RAU has a considerable experience on the project’s topic, gained within the Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative, developed by UNWTO in cooperation with the European Commission. RAU has been actively involved in the UNWTO Initiative, conducting a national SWOT analysis on the Western Silk Road in Armenia. RAU was invited to participate in the 1st International UNWTO Western Silk Road Workshop, held in Alexandroupolis, Greece on 26-27 April 2017. During the workshop, the “Silk Road Local Culture-SILC” project idea was introduced by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Economics (AUTH-ECON) Professor Stella Kostopoulou, who was the Scientific Responsible of the national Western Silk Road SWOT analysis for Greece, carried out by AUTh-ECON also within the UNWTO initiative.

The aim of this baseline study on the Silk Road Cultural Heritage is to support a widespread awareness on the Silk Road local cultures, focusing on tourism development and interregional synergies. The main rationale of the project is the promotion of tourism entrepreneurship in the study areas through the branding of local Silk Road cultures. To this end, all tangible and intangible cultural heritage resources that are linked to the Silk Road legacy and contribute to the local Silk Road cultural identity, will be identified, delineated, recorded, evaluated and incorporated in a holistic tourism development Masterplan for the project area.

The implementation of the baseline study on the Silk Road Cultural Heritage is aligned with the Programme’s objectives, providing a baseline research on the interlinkages between tourism and Silk Road cultural heritage, including risks and opportunities.

More specifically, it aims to:

(1) Identify the Silk Road cultural footprint within the project areas, through an in depth research of tangible and intangible Silk Road cultural heritage and assessment of its impact on tourism development;

(2) Promote the Silk Road historical heritage and support its preservation through sustainable tourism development (e.g. Silk Road cultural assets survey and mapping);

(3) Promote the development of cross-border tourism products and transnational thematic itineraries based on the Silk Road historical routes;

(4) Share experience/best practices and/or develop jointly targeted tourism strategies to promote high quality, innovative tourism products and services (e.g. eco-tourism, adventure tourism, creative tourism, cultural tourism) for specific markets (e.g. the Free Independent Travelers);

(5) Report key steps for the elaboration, management and marketing of tangible and intangible cultural heritage-based tourism products;

(6) Define and prepare further joint research actions on Silk Road cultural tourism.