Tourism boost for ancient Silk Road

7th Jun 2013

It travels 8,000km (4,970 miles) from the Asian/Europe border in the west to China's Beijing in the east.

Now plans are afoot for major tourism-boosting developments to complement the existing cultural sites along the ancient Silk Road.

The historic road, rather than a direct route across Asia, visits pinnacle points in a network that once connected East and West for traders.

United Nations (UN) groups are staging talks on how to further raise the road's tourism profile, while safeguarding its "exceptional heritage sites and intangible cultural heritage".

The main associations driving this revitalisation initiative are the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Emphasis is being put on enhancing the region's existing World Heritage sites and raising global awareness.

The two groups want to improve visitor interaction through the use of technology such as 3D scanning and laser modelling.

They also envisage "opening borders" with a "Silk Road Visa", which they hope will transform the route into an "internationally renowned, seamless travel experience" for holidaymakers on trekking tours and family holidays alike.

The route's western tip is Istanbul in Turkey.

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