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Sustainable Destination Management

Strategies in the OIC Member Countries


extent in formulating the themes and identifying the tourism resources to be included in the

corridors, whether in the case of the Silk Road, The Holy Family, or the Umayyad Route. It

should also be noted that in two of these cases, namely the Silk Road and the Umayyad Route,

assistance from international and regional organizations was instrumental in formulating the

themes and identifying the tourism resources.

Another area where some of the existing OIC MDTCs seem to be performing well is creating

public-private partnerships that allow for cooperation between the various stakeholders. In

the case with the Silk Road, this was facilitated by the creation of the UNWTO Task Force and

the establishment of its office in Uzbekistan. In the case of the Umayyad Route, the layered

organizational structure with local support groups composed of public and private sector

entities allow for interaction and collaboration among the various stakeholders.

Most of the existing OIC MDTCs have launched initiatives aimed at capacity building for tourism

stakeholders along the corridor. In the case of the Silk Road, a handbook was developed, and

training was provided for tour guides, in addition to training for tourismofficials on sustainable

and transnational tourism development. For the Umayyad Route, training was provided to

tourism officials in areas of marketing and management, while tour guides were provided

training and certification as Umayyad Route guides.

There are a number of areas that need to be improved for the existing OIC MDTCs to reach their

potential, including improving infrastructure, travel facilitation, funding, and marketing, as

well as conducting research and evaluation and monitoring activities. The improvement of

infrastructure for the OIC MDTCs represents a major challenge, especially in the face of the

financial constraints some OIC countries are facing. However, it seems that there are some

efforts to improve connectivity in some of the OIC regions in Africa and Asia, which can be

promising for the existing as well as the potential MDTCs in these regions. Support from

regional organizations and financial institutions for infrastructure initiatives can be

instrumental in improving infrastructure.

Funding is also one of the significant challenges of the OIC MDTCs. While some of the OIC

MDTCs seem to be dependent on financial and/or technical support from international and

regional organizations, other MDTCs are mainly financed through governmental allocations of

corridor countries. Even with support from UNWTO, funding levels seem to be low for the Silk

Road. Diversifying funding needs to be a top priority to ensure the sustainability of the existing

OIC MDTCs. Encouraging private sector investments and contributions can play an important

role in diversifying OIC MDTCs funding.

While there are some initiatives for cooperation in travel facilitation in the case of some of the

existing OIC MDTCs, there is still a long way to go to ease restrictions within existing travel

corridors. While there were many talks regarding unified visas for a number of tourism

corridors, only the three countries of the East Africa Northern Corridor have one currently.

Having visa-waivers for neighboring countries and top markets, as well as introducing e-visas

and visas on arrival can enhance tourism along corridor countries.

A consistent strategy for marketing the OIC MDTCs needs to be developed. The examples show

the efforts being made for branding and promoting the OIC MDTCs are limited, with the

exception of the Silk Road, which is supported by UNWTO in its promotional efforts. Yet it

seems that none of the OIC MDTCs, even the Silk Road, has incorporated the use of digital media

platforms, including social media in an integrated marketing communications strategy to

promote the corridors.