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UNWTO:Branding Maritime Silk Road to promote Refreshing Fujian

Source:apdnews.com | 2016-05-18  click:

Connecting Fujian with the Maritime Silk Road can create a very positive image for the city, Patrick Fritz, the Programme assistant for the UNWTO, told APD in an exclusive interview. “A powerful brand with a positive reputation inspires quality and trust,” he said. 

Acclaimed as the “greatest route in the history of mankind”, the ancient Silk Road formed the first bridge between the East and the West and was a route of integration, exchange and dialogue, which contributed greatly to the common prosperity and development of humankind for almost two millennia. 

In 2015, the Forbes described the Silk Road as “one of the most powerful brands” and the UNWTO research has shown that the Silk Road is one of the world’s most discussed travel routes online. To the potential of its 33 Member States, the Silk Road is widely known due to its cultural and historical significance. 

UNWTO’s Silk Road Action Plan is a cross-border tourism initiative with a multifarious offer, 

Fritz introduced, it includes various travel routes as nature, cultural heritage, eco- and adventure, city and maritime tourism routes. 

Up to January 2016, there are 33 Member States participating in the UNWTO Silk Road Programme, laying across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Asia Pacific have participated in the Silk Road Action Plan and have collaborated in three key areas including Marketing and Promotion, Capacity Building and Destination Management, and Travel Facilitation. 

"The plan has the components to prosper, adapt and grow in a competitive environment,” Fritz said, “and of course, such approach is also valid for Fujian and its new brand, the ‘Refreshing Fujian’”. 

For a brand to be full effective, destinations must focus on the whole. Fritz suggested that the tourism campaign or strategy should be reinforced a basic storyline or underline a unique personality or set of values. 

"Also, it is in a great position to levy from a change in the way people think about and approach travel,” he said. To further illustrate the new trends in global tourism, he said that in line with the so-called experience economy, travelers are increasingly seeking a different kind of value return, favoring enriching experiences and authenticity along with the traditional product purchase. 

Fritz said, cohesive and strong marketing and promotional strategies are indispensable in an age of fierce competition for the shares of the globalized marketplace. “Although technical developments in recent years have increased the possibilities, range and scope of branding,” he said, “new challenges have also emerged.” 

"For example, new actors and operating through social media are capable of influencing an official brand and traveler expectations,” he added. “The programme will allow the Silk Road to grow in a sustainable and responsible manner,” he emphasized, “in the future, the programme will focus on the main activities and the possibilities for collaboration.” 

For the tourism industry of emerging economies, new opportunities are observed in the Silk Road Action Plan 2016/2017. According to the plan, Asia and the Pacific will be the fastest growing outbound region, as the rising affluence of Asia’s middle class will create huge potential for tourism growth. 

What is more, the improved connectivity within China and along the Silk Road will facilitate and change the way people travel across regions due to the plan. Fritz believed that new tourism trends are emerging and that can be of great value to Fujian. “For example,” he said, “cruise tourism, youth travel and the demand for cultural tourism are all rapid growing areas from which Fujian and the rest of the Silk Road will be able to benefit.”