“We see the Silk Road as one of the best ways to link these twenty four countries within one thread and act as an umbrella to promote the cause of the tourism industry in one area” said Zoltan Somogyi, Executive Director of UNWTO. “UNWTO, which recently created a special office for activities relating to Silk Road tourism, is fully committed to supporting this noble cause”, he added.
The Mayor’s Forum was held to bring the international initiative to a local level spurred on by local city mayor’s involvement. “An added dimension” said Thomas Bauer of the World Citizens Organization (WCO), “is the opportunity for supporters of the Silk Road from many different countries and cultures to network and to build relationships for the future.”
The event ended with agreement on the Shiraz Declaration including:
• The use of the Silk Road to promote peace, unity and cooperation amongst the ‘Silk Roadians’ and the world in general
• The development of transit networks including air, sea, rail and highways throughout the Silk Road
• Fostering of trade, economic and cultural exchanges
• Development of links between universities, scientific centres, cultural and health institutions throughout the Silk Road
• Establishment of a forum to examine the feasibility of a Silk Road airline
• Establishment of Silk Road parks and Silk Road Boulevards in all member cities
48 Cities from 26 countries attended the event, which was held in Shiraz, Islamic Republic of Iran. The two-day event was supported by UNWTO, WCO, the Silk Road Global Alliance, UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).