In May 2012, ten UNWTO Member States had the opportunity to participate in a special initiative being coordinated by UNWTO and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) for the Silk Road. The EHL/UNWTO Strategy Challenge saw 170 final year EHL students research and analyse the tourism and hospitality infrastructure situation in 10 countries, then produced the outline for a 5-10 year strategic plan on how each country can best position itself within the Silk Road. The strategies focused on the areas of marketing/promotion and capacity building/destination management. Industry experts – in fields ranging from scenario planning to sustainable finance – held guest lectures and workshops throughout the seven weeks, in order to guide the students toward tangible, realistic, and actionable recommendations.
The 10 participating countries were: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Greece, Iran, Repulic of Korea, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
On the 4th of June, 2012, representatives from participating Member states were invited to the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne for an EHL/UNWTO Silk Road Think Tank. Representatives saw their respective teams’ present their strategic plans and exchanged ideas over lunch at EHL’s fine dining restaurant. In the afternoon, the most innovative and useful strategic plans were presented to an open audience, consisting of country and UNWTO representatives, invited guests and members of the EHL community.