Silk Road Local Culture project is to promote economic and social development throughout the Black Sea Zone and reinforce the tourism development and cooperation of tourism entrepreneurship related to the Silk Road heritage. The core axis around which the project’s actions will be deployed, is the creation of a Tourism Intelligence on the Silk Road cultural heritage located within the project study areas, and the evaluation of the potential of the Silk Road cultural footprint over the eligible Regions for tourism growth, interregional cooperation and cross-border partnerships. By involving partners from five countries (Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria), three Universities (Greece, Armenia, Bulgaria), one NGO (Romania), and an Institute (Georgia), SILC project aims to strengthen and diversify the tourism offer of Silk Road destinations within the study areas, as well as enhance regional cooperation and cross-border partnerships.
Transnational cooperation lies on the understanding that the combination of efforts, resources and strengths could lead to the achievement of outcomes, which could not be reached by the independent actions of the nation – states. At the crossroads of ancient civilizations, the Black Sea Basin, as well as the project study area, have a rich and diverse cultural heritage that needs to be preserved. Several tangible and intangible cultural assets have been listed as the heritage of humanity and the plethora of cultural variety offers considerable opportunities for tourism development and cooperation.
The revival of the historic Silk Road encompasses and encourages the creation of new tourism flows of independent travelers seeking to experience diverse cultures and alternative forms of tourism, detouring from the mass-tourism scheme. The EU, and more specifically the Eurozone area, is by far the most significant economic partner of the Black Sea region countries. EU Member States are key trade partners and the principal source of financing and foreign direct investment (FDI) for most Black Sea countries.
Tourism potential in the Black Sea Basin area is rich and diversified. Even though there is lack of comprehensive regional data, it appears that the number of international visitors to the Black Sea region has been increased. Over the past decades tourism has become one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world and is expected to increase considerably in the coming years, characterized by continuous spatial expansion and product diversification. The implementation of SILC project will provide considerable support to the development of new cultural tourism products, and as a result complementarities in regional cooperation may be generated and a territorial challenge could be solved.
On the other hand, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Black Sea region represent the vast majority of enterprises, playing an important role as key engine for economic growth. There is still potential for SME’s growth and the aim of this project is to provide the opportunity for small and medium enterprises and young entrepreneurs to create, develop and boost their existing activities. Also SILCNECT network and SILCNECT Label will launch new collaborations. In fact SILC project will be the incubator for new entrepreneurial opportunities. The support to entrepreneurship development and skills upgrading, as well as to technology diffusion and SME’s access to international markets, could tackle down a second territorial challenge. That will be promoted mainly by training activities and pilot implementation.
Silk Road local cultures can be used as anchor points for the development of local cultural and tourism entrepreneurial activities, through the creation of culture and tourism networks by encouraging synergies, networking and connectivity between tourist and cultural stakeholders. The aim of the SILC project is to develop such networks and empower local entrepreneurship in order to utilize the positive economic impacts and other externalities. Moreover it aims to share experience and/or develop jointly targeted tourism products and services to jointly promote cultural products, while addressing the development of cross-border tourism products and transnational thematic itineraries through the diversification of the tourism product that Silk Road destinations offer within the project study areas.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki: Research Committee, School of Economic Sciences
State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education ”Russian-Armenian University”
University of Economics – Varna
International Centre for Social Research and Policy Analysis
National Association for Rural, Ecological and Cultural Tourism - Tulcea Branch