UNESCO World Heritage Journeys Silk Road

Capacity-building of key UNESCO World Heritage and tourism stakeholders along the Silk Road and establishment of the World Heritage Journeys website platform of the Silk Road in Central Asia.

  • Client: UNESCO
  • Partners: Over 100 participating World Heritage Sites
  • Project Duration: July 2021 - March 2022

Central Asia is situated in the heart of the Silk Road, a vast network of land and maritime trade routes and communication circuits connecting the East and the West. The persistent movement of peoples and goods along these routes over three millennia resulted in an impressive transmission and exchange of knowledge, ideas, beliefs, customs, and traditions, which form part of the rich cultural expressions and heritage present in these territories today.

Sustainable tourism in Central Asia presents huge opportunities for local economic development and poverty alleviation which create meaningful socio-economic impacts. However, if not properly managed, tourism can have negative impacts on these World Heritage sites, local communities, and visitors alike. Therefore it is crucial for tourist destinations to understand the importance of sustainability, develop long term responsible management mechanisms and maintain natural and cultural resources. The World Heritage Journeys of the Silk Road project aims at establishing a network of trained World Heritage and sustainable tourism stakeholders in the six targeted Central Asian countries, to assure the sustainable governance, conservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage sites, while attempting to maximize the benefits of tourism development for the local economy through attracting responsible travel.

A series of a sustainable tourism capacity-building, networking and content marketing learning program brought together relevant stakeholders from the tourism industry for an interactive online discussion centered around the UNESCO World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Toolkit. In addition, an online platform will be created in collaboration with local experts, distributing engaging content focused on the authentic attractions, experiences, and stories in and around UNESCO World Heritage sites in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan to a global audience. This way, local communities will engage, understand and most importantly, improve their capacity to provide and promote quality tourist products that will safeguard the destinations’ outstanding universal values, enhance their integrity and confront social and environmental issues.

Major Activities 

  • Organize and host a structured 10-part monthly sustainable tourism capacity building program for local stakeholders along the Silk Road (in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan), in order to enhance their tourism management practices and understanding of cultural tourism
  • Collect in depth information about local travel advice to develop cross-border itineraries and content for the World Heritage Journeys Platform
  • Create the World Heritage Journeys Website Platform for the Silk Road of Central Asia, promoting and highlighting the region’s heritage sites in an engaging way, as well as inspiring travel through outstanding itineraries
  • Conduct monthly webinars for the program participants, designed to showcase best practices and opportunities for the Silk Road Tourism Development


  • The launch of World Heritage Journey’s Central Asian website platform, with quality content that promotes travel to and around Central Asia
  •  Increased sustainable travel to Central Asia and Silk Road cities with benefits for local communities, development impacts, and actions supporting heritage protection
  • Develop local sustainable tourism strategies crafted by the program participants, guided by our course leaders, encompassing all aspects of World Heritage sites sustainable tourism development, management, and conservation
  • Improved capacity of key stakeholders to implement sustainable tourism planning and visitor management solutions and create and promote authentic Central Asian tourism products and services.
    Enhanced regional integration, transboundary tourism development, and promotion through increased networking

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