The Silk Road is one of the world’s most powerful brands – and 2016 will see a hugely increased awareness of the route through both old and new media.
It was revealed at a seminar staged at World Travel Market that both BBC Travel and BBC4 will be showing Silk Road documentaries next year. And in addition to the massive television exposure, technology and social media are also expected to enhance coverage of the region, say travel specialists.
Around 60 tourism executives gathered at the UNWTO seminar to discuss maximizing potential of the Silk Road, and join in a debate on the rise of experiential travel.
In her progress update on the UNWTO Silk Road activities, Programme Manager Alla Peressolova said a recent Forbes report highlighted The Silk Road as a more powerful brand than Disney and Coca Cola.
She also referred to a UNWTO survey of 300,000 people using social media and blogs which showed that the Silk Road accounted for 30% of all conversations – a remarkably high figure.
Katy Xu, vice-president (Greater China and North Asia) of BBC Advertising, provided further market intelligence on the Silk Road, drawing on the results of an online survey that the BBC launched in 2015 in collaboration with UNWTO.
Historic, cultural and interesting were the adjectives most used by people to describe The Silk Road. The survey also revealed that among the 33 countries the UNWTO works with on its Silk Road programme, China is the one most associated with the route.
More than two-thirds of people quizzed expressed an interest in visiting The Silk Road, with the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, ancient ruins, tombs and historical museums highlighted as the things most want to see.
As numbers of visitors rise, so will the volume of information and photos from visitors enjoying experiential travel, whereby they connect more to the history, people and culture of the region and share those experiences through social media.
In 2011, we introduced social media seminars to WTM. This was our fifth year, with livestreamed videos across the three days of the conference. Catch up on the videos, social surround sound and our table football party night with 100 travel bloggers, plus news of our Social Travel Britain conference to be held in Bristol in April, 2016.