World Civilizations and Historic Routes Congress

The 2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes will be held on 15-16 November in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is jointly organized by the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria and UNWTO. Venue: Sofia Hotel Balkan

 The Memorial Church of Saint Alexander is one of the many historical buildings in Sofia, a city that has benefited from being on the strategic crossroads of Europe. Sofia is the venue of 2nd UNWTO’s World Civilisations and Historic Routes Congress. Image courtesy of Bulgariatravel.org

The Memorial Church of Saint Alexander is one of the many historical buildings in Sofia, a city that has benefited from being on the strategic crossroads of Europe. Sofia is the venue of 2nd UNWTO’s World Civilisations and Historic Routes Congress. Image courtesy of Bulgariatravel.org

Cultural heritage lies at the very heart of the collective memory and identity of the citizens of the world. Destinations that boast archaeological sites, ancient architecture, folklore traditions and arts, and that find themselves along these ancient routes can assume the role of catalysts for the exchange of experience between peoples and cultures through tourism development, and thereby promote sustainable growth, prosperity and peace in their own regions.

Recognizing the above, the Congress will explore the possible ways in which world civilizations could be brought to life through tourism by making use of the networks developed along historic routes. The congress will also focus on addressing how tourism along these routes can play a leading role in creating new socio-economic opportunities for development at local, regional and national level while safeguarding and promoting tangible and intangible ancient heritage.

Participants will have the opportunity to build upon the great cultural wealth spanning along the ancient routes, learn from different experiences and generate synergies among themselves and between several networks developed alongside the ancient cultural routes.

Best practice example

Launched in 2017 as a joint initiative between UNWTO and the European Union, the UNWTO’s Western Silk Road focuses on the development and diversification of the Western link of the Silk Road, an area geographically defined to primarily include European Union Member States, but also partner countries located along the Mediterranean basin, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. The collaborative initiative integrates both a product development and capacity building components to successfully design strategies to foster sustainable tourism development along the Western Silk Road, with tangible and intangible Silk Road heritage as a unifying theme.

Day one will begin with “High Level Meeting: Transnational cooperation along historic routes: Leveraging landmark initiatives and new economic perspectives”. Landmark initiatives and major collaboration frameworks, such as the EU-China Tourism year or the European Year of Cultural Heritage, play a key role in facilitating transnational cooperation among countries, and thus can also be leveraged to promote sustainable tourism development along associated historic routes. This is a panel session that will bring together Ministers and high-level authorities to debate how governments and institutions can use the momentum and political will of such initiatives to enhance the development and promotion of historic routes, while ensuring inclusive development in the regions along them.

Other sessions will be on “Creating signature tourism experiences along historic routes”; “UNWTO’s Silk Road initiative: from awareness-raising to product development and stakeholder engagement” are other topics; and more with the keynote presentation on “Assessing the viability and sustainability of a cultural route”.

Check out the rest of the programme here, and to register for the event as well.