Cultural heritage based tourism

Tourism is a key tool for economic development of the Central Asian region. As the Silk Roads Chan'an-Tianshan heritage corridor is located here, one of the prospective types of tourism is cultural heritage based tourism.

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 an important vehicle for trade between the ancient empires of China, Central and Western Asia, the Indian sub-continent, and Rome. The Silk Road was more than just trade routes; it symbolized the multiple benefits arising from cultural exchange. As a result, countless historic and cultural sites remain along the network of famous routes. The Silk Road’s exceptional cultural and living heritage creates incredible opportunities for tourism.

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and is a major source of income for many countries. Being a people-oriented industry, tourism also provides many jobs, which have helped, revitalize local economies.

However, like other forms of development, tourism can also cause its share of problems, such as social dislocation, loss of cultural heritage, economic dependence and ecological degradation. Learning about the impacts of tourism has led many people to seek more responsible holidays. These include various forms of alternative or sustainable tourism such as ‘nature-based tourism’, ‘ecotourism’ and ‘cultural tourism’. Sustainable tourism is becoming so popular that some say that what we presently call ‘alternative’ will be the ‘mainstream’ in a decade.

Sustainable tourism is defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment”. It seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country.