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Tourism key to 'lasting' awareness of initiative in public mind

By Wang Kaihao in Astana | China Daily | Updated: 2014-12-15 07:45

Highlighting the modern Silk Road's cultural importance will help pave the way for people to better understand the initiative and its direction, specialists said at the Silk Road International Cultural Forum held in the Kazakh capital Astana last week.

The forum attracted more than 100 delegates, specialists, scholars and decision-makers, as well as representatives from various enterprises from China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

According to the Astana Consensus reached at the two-day forum, cooperation will be a major focus of the countries and organizations involved in the Silk Road, but getting the public to appreciate just how beneficial it will be is also a prime goal.

"Everybody is talking about the Silk Road, but not many people know that much about it," said Wang Dong, a philosophy professor from Peking University, suggesting tourism would be a good way to fire the public's imagination.

The Silk Road is a route that has been recognized as having extreme cultural and historical importance, and the "Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road", which includes 33 cultural heritage sites in China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, was proclaimed a UNSESCO World Heritage site in June.

In 2013, in a speech in Astana, President Xi Jinping proposed establishing a Silk Road Economic Belt.

"If we want to make economic expectations a reality and let people feel the splendor of history, it's better to encourage them to see and understand what the Silk Road really is," Wang said.

In Russia, for example, museum managers have been designing travel routes along the Silk Road's cultural heritage sites to raise public awareness.

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