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.