Silk Road Tourism Ministers commit to travel facilitation and closer marketing cooperation

The 7th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism agreed to advance travel facilitation, promote a “Visit the Silk Road” Programme and step up efforts to develop tourism routes and enhance human resources. (Xi’an, China 18-20 June 2015).

Jointly organized by UNWTO, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the People’s Government of the Shaanxi Province, the 7th International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism held in the ancient Silk Road capital of Xi’an addressed key topics such as capacity building, marketing and promotion, heritage management and travel facilitation as a means to building an integrated tourism market along the land and maritime Silk Roads.

“Closer tourism cooperation is of great significance to the economic and social development of the countries along the Silk Road as well as to peace and stability in the region,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, while highlighting the way forward on the promotion of the Silk Road Tourism.

“It is now 21 years since 19 countries gathered in Uzbekistan and adopted the Samarkand Declaration on Silk Road Tourism, which called for ‘a peaceful and fruitful rebirth of these legendary routes. We have come a long way over the years, yet we still need to address a number of challenges that continue to hamper a stronger tourism growth on the Silk Road namely visa facilitation, and connectivity” he added.

“Tourism is a window for opening-up an engine of development and a bond of peace,” said Li Jinzao, Chairman of China National Tourism Administration. “Let’s work together to champion the spirit of the Silk Road in this new era and create a bright future. The number of exchanges between China and other Silk Road countries has already exceeded 30 million” he added.

Tourism ministers and representatives participating in the meeting agreed to improve travel facilitation, conduct joint marketing activities, including a ‘Visit the Silk Road’ programme, deepen regional cooperation, expand the supply of tourism products by developing tourism routes and strengthen cooperation among tourism colleges and research institutions.

Participating in the meeting were Tourism Ministers and Tourism Board representatives from more than thirty countries, as well as representatives from UNESCO, BBC Worldwide, University College London, TripAdvisor, Ctrip, Hainan Airlines, Finnair and the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance.

On the occasion, the 1st Tourism Ministerial Meeting of Countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt, hosted by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) in collaboration with UNWTO, gathered the Ministers and Vice Ministers of Tourism of nearly 20 countries to discuss opportunities for tourism development along the Silk Road Economic Belt. The Meeting approved the Xi’an Initiative, a document setting the path for stronger tourism development in the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

 

Emirates Introduces Flights to Multan, Pakistan

Emirates has announced it will start services to Pakistani city of Multan from 1st August. Multan, one of the world’s oldest cities, Pakistan’s fifth largest city in terms of population and it will benefit from four weekly flights with a Boeing 777-300 that offers 310 seats in Economy Class, 54 in Business Class and can carry to 23 tonnes of cargo.

Sitting on the banks of the Chenab River in the province of Punjab, Multan has a rich history as a cultural and trade hub, but it is also renowned for its famous agricultural products such as cotton, wheat, sugar cane, citrus, mangoes, pomegranates and guavas.

Multan is also an industrial and commercial centre, well connected with other industrial cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Quetta and Gujranwala.

Ahmed Khoory, senior vice president commercial operations West Asia and Indian Ocean, declared: “As we get close to celebrating 30 years of services to Pakistan, we’re reminded of our strong bond with the country.”

“The addition of frequencies to Karachi and the introduction of Multan will make Pakistan Emirates’ fourth most highly served country on our international network, with 80 return flights a week operating between Dubai and Pakistan.”

“Furthermore, not only will Emirates be the first airline to offer wide-body premium cabin service to Multan, but this new destination will help enhance global trade and improve economic opportunities in the region, providing additional travel options to Pakistanis wanting to connect with friends and family throughout our network of over 140 destinations worldwide.”

 

35 Most common SEO Mistakes – Most Blogger Forget in WordPress

There are so many WordPress SEO tutorials out there we don’t need another one. Some of them are very good, I don’t doubt that. They cover most of the blog & WordPress SEO basics like proper URLs e.g. We have also numerous best WordPress SEO plugins lists out there. My personally prefer Keyword winner.

You may use one, two or three of these plugins but not more. The true SEO for blogs is more advanced. On the other hand you don’t need some advanced technical skill-set to master it.

Most Common SEO Mistakes – Know to Avoid them

Much of blog SEO is directly related to

interlinking
keyword choice
content prioritization (siloing)
community creation
You may cover the SEO basics or use the “best SEO plugins” but still write content nobody will ever find. So what’s the deal? How do you really take care of your blog & WordPress SEO? I’ve seen countless WordPress SEO tutorials but most don’t cover any of the following 30 points most bloggers overlook:

Tip #1 : Strategic Ranking

Google loves blogs and fresh content. Blogs offer everything Google needs so it rewards blogs and publishing new posts frequently. On the other hand you will notice that your blog ranks often in random ways unless you decide what blog posts and what keywords and phrases you want to rank for. With the several blogs I write for I often notice this kind of behavior. You have to prioritize and decide yourself which posts you wan to rank.

Tip#2 : Outdated posts may rank forever

So you have to return to those posts and update them for better SEO results. You may also redirect your old posts to new URLs but I prefer the update.

Tip#3 : New posts often rank far worse than old posts.

Thus you have to update the old posts sometimes instead of writing new ones on the same topic.

Tip#4: More keyword posts don’t automatically mean better rankings for those keywords.

Adding “SEO INDIA” to each an every post doesn’t mean you will rank better for SEO INDIA. Rather focus on the best performing post about SEO INDIA on your blog.

Tip#5 : Tag pages might outrank your posts.

Adding a tag cloud to your blog is good for usability and still common. Your tag or category pages might outrank your posts though as they are always linked on homepage. Tag pages make people bounce though. So don’t link your tags and categories everywhere.

Tip#6 : Nobody finds your best posts unless you mark them as “best”.

Nobody finds your best bost unless untill you mark them as “Best” post. Usability guru Jakob Nielsen has written about it years ago. You have to add a best posts, featured posts and/or most popular posts list to your blog. We use Postrank for that purpose.

Tip#7 :You won’t rank for “x blog” unless you have “x blog” in your HTML title.

Google is still too stupid to recognize a blog by it’s set up or structure. Using WordPress doesn’t mean you will rank for your term + blog. Just search for design blog. You have to call yourself blog in the HTML title tag and the h1 headline. Doesn’t seem “advanced”? It took me more than a year to finally prove that.

Tip#8: Strategic Linking

Link building in advanced SEO is not only about getting links. It’s also about how each link is part of your overall SEO strategy. Do you aim to rank for your main keyphrase or two? Or do you seek to become a great resource first and make each post rank as high as possible to harness the long tail? This decision determines how you will link out, link your internal posts and interlink them in future.

Tip#9: People click the first link in lists.

It doesn’t matter how you structure your list, whether it starts with “a” or the best list item. People tend to click the items on top. Consider this when compiling link lists.

Tip#10: Only first anchor text counts.

This might seem counterintuitive but Google apparently only counts your first anchor text in a page when you link the same page twice. So Choose your first anchor text wisely.

Tip#11: Repetitive linking with the same anchor text is spammy.

While many SEO plugins automatically link a given page or post on your WordPress blog with a predefined keyword this is spammy. Google discounts unnatural accumulations of anchor texts like it discounts keyword stuffing elsewhere. This was the only reason, I , uninstall automatic linking plugin.

Tip#12: Broken links break your SEO and make less trustworthy.

Both users and search engines rely on trust factors like you not linking to bad neighbourhoods. Often old blog posts link to sites that do not exist anymore or worse have been overtaken by someone else and are more or less of low quality

Tip#13: You get no links without trust.

When it comes to business blogging most blogs won’t get authority links unless they become trusted resources. There are a few desperate people out there like Jason Calacanis who will attack a whole industry to get links but that doesn’t work for you. You are not a celebrity. Only people who trust you link to you.

Tip#14: You get incoming links by linking out (I don’t mean trackbacks).

Many people new to blog SEO assume that they have to hoard PageRank like they do on their static sites but only blogs that link out succeed in the long run. You get links mostly from other bloggers. How do they notice you? When you actually link out to them. Getting links with trackbacking everybody via automated plugins is spam.

Tip#15: Nofollow hampers your internal links (pings) as well.

WordPress still uses by default the so called nofollow attribute for blog comments. It was introduced to combat spam but it never did. The widely used Akismet plugin is for spam. WordPress also adds your nofollow internal links (pings) and thus hurts your site. Otherwise you can just ping your older posts by linking them in your newer post and both of them get a ranking boost.

Tip#16: Content Strategy

Content creation is not just about producing as many blog posts as possible and blog SEO is not about making these posts as keyword rich as possible. You need a content strategy and goals you want to reach. Also who re the people you want to reach with your blog posts? Think about that before you start blogging. Do you blog for branding, SEO or do you seek feedback from your readers?

Tip#17: Normal people or websites rarely link out to blogs, others bloggers do.

So you have to write for a relatively small audience of other bloggers to get links. Make sure to address other bloggers in your posts at least from time to time. Write for people, I mean people you know by name to achieve this.

Tip#18: Images rank far easier than postings.

SEO is still a niche topic. As SEO blogs are fairly well optimized also the images in them rank well. You may end up with more visitors from image search than from regular results. This works great for other more image oriented blogs as well. Descriptive image names and captions are key here. angelina-jolie-naked.jpg with “Angelina Jolie naked” as a caption will outrank 123.jpg with “look at her” as caption. Read about advanced image SEO in this presentation [PDF].

Tip#19 : Listicles bring traffic but in depth posts like Seth Godin’s bring reputation (and traffic).

As an SEOptimise reader you know we produce quite a few lists. These lists are very popular. To get a reputation and trust you need to cover topics in depth though. Some lists manage both, like I hope this one does but random shallow collections of items aka listicles don’t. Take a look at Seth Godin’s blog. He manages to do both.

Tip#20 :Embedding videos from YouTube or elsewhere is a recipe for disaster

Many US bloggers forget that the world is bigger than the USA. They will embed videos hosted on video sites to their blog posts. Sometimes the video is the only content in a post like that. Many videos can’t be displayed outside the US, even the most popular ones. Some sites like Hulu are US only. Some videos get removed for copyright reasons, other for personal reasons. So you end up with an empty player in your blog post. Use open source video players for your professional blogs.

Tip#21 : Comments and Community

Your goal with a blog is also to create a community of supporters for your blog, site as a whole and brand. Blogs and comments are the most straightforward way to do so. Comments are very tricky though. There are many pitfalls to overcome, especially when it comes to blog comments and SEO. Disabling comments is no solution though for flagship business blogs.

Tip#22 : Un-moderated comments may hurt your site’s authority.

You have to moderate comments very closely. That is: Check the name of the commenter, is it just keywords. Read the comment, check whether it’s original (or just a bit that copies the same comment from elsewhere or even from your blog comments above), click the link the commenter added. In case everything is OK then the comment should be approved. Otherwise it might make you look bad for both users and search engines.

Tip#23: Comments make your posts rank better, not only for long tail phrases.

Stale blog posts may outrank you but also may disappear altogether. When people still add comments to old blog posts Google obviously assumes that they are still of relevance. Also people add more content via comments and thus you can rank for long tail phrases and often even quite popular key-phrases just because of the comments.

Tip#24: Switched off comments make your blog a one way street.

Many bloggers consider switching off comments altogether to get rid of spam, low quality comments and to have more time for writing. While the advantages of this approach might be obvious the drawbacks are a bit more long term and fuzzy but they are there. The conversation takes place somewhere else. You lose a community or the community you once had.

Tip#25: Using third party tools like Disqus for comments makes them unmovable.

Many bloggers use third party comment management tools like Disqus make them stuck once you move your blog to another platform for instance. When the URLs change the comments can’t be ascribed correctly to their posts anymore.

Tip#26: Relying for Twitter for comments breaks them when Twitter is down.

Some bloggers do not use third party commenting tools but add Twitter authentication via OAuth. This is a good idea as long as Twitter is up. Just yesterday I couldn’t add a comment to a blog because Twitter was “over capacity”. Make sure Twitter is not the only way people can authenticate or allow comments by anonymous users as well. You can make those

Tip#27 : Most people don’t comment.

99% of visitors do not comment on your blog. So pay special attention to those that do but don’t assume everybody else shares the same opinion. Also consider adding low threshold user participation to your blog. Something like adding stars for approval.

Tip#28 :Most positive comments are spam these days.

“Thank you, great post!” This is not a comment. This is spam. Whenever I see a blog post full of such comments I know that the blogger in question doesn’t care about real comments so I don’t comment myself. I don’t want my comment to get buried below dozens of worthless bot like flattery. Also note that a comment providing no context and no relation to the actual post can be automated.

Tip#29 : You have to reply to good commenter to keep your blog community alive.

While most comments are trash you have to try to keep the commenter who are really adding value by commenting on point. These people are your most ardent fans in many cases. They are your brand evangelists who will spread the message beyond your blog. Nurture them and your blog SEO will thrive.

Tip#30: Conversions and ROI

Blogs are not meant to convert visitors to clients. Also the ROI of blogging is fuzzy. You need to make a blog work for you and your business. Just adding a blog and assuming you get more conversions or a better ROI than before doesn’t work. So make sure to find out how your blog could earn money for you. Think about ways to convert your readers to subscribers, brand evangelists or even clients that are specific to your business. Each and every blog I write for has a different way of earning money.

Top#31: The date makes people bounce.

Blogs, especially WordPress blogs still mimic diaries like back in 2001. So people will see the date of a post almost instantly in the URL or above the post itself. While hiding the date entirely is not a good idea showing it before the actual post as the most important information is a mistake. People will assume that your content is outdated when they see a date from a few months ago or last year. Business blogging is about value though, thus you won’t just blog time sensitive news. Display the date at the bottom of the post without highlighting it. Otherwise visitors just bounce.

Tip#32: Blogs do not convert unless you make them.

We know that there are basically three kinds of search queries. Navigational, informational and transactional ones. Blogs are geared towards serving the informational queries. People who get the information have no reason to stay on your blog and buy, subscribe etc. You have to blog for conversions to get them. This starts with choosing different keywords and placing a call to action at the bottom of your post.

Tip#33: Blogging doesn’t pay when it’s a shop window with no products.

The term business blogging suggests that blogging itself is the business. In most cases it is not. blogging only supports your real business. It’s like s shop window for showing off your expertise. In case there is nothing to buy though, no products you won’t sell anything.

Tip#34: You can perform A/B split tests with WordPress.

A/B split testing or multivariate testing is very en vogue these days even beyond the SEO industry. It is for good reason. You can optimize for the traffic you already have instead of trying to get even more of it. A/B split testing works in WordPress as well and can increase your conversion rates significantly.

Tip#35: You have to segment your blog traffic to achieve the best results.

When you study your analytics often enough you will notice that your visitors are often completely different. You have probably very determined search users, very casual social media users, and very devoted returning visitors if your blog works well. To achieve the best results and convert these visitors you have to segment them. It means you need to offer different things to different people. Example: Show targeted CPC ads to search visitors. Show CPM ads to social media visitors. Don’t show ads to regular visitors or special offers instead.

Don’t overlook these 35 points like other bloggers do. You might outrank them by focusing on them.

 

Iran shows interest in reviving ancient Silkroad

Iran has sait the it wants to be part of the Pak China Economic Coridor project to revice the ancient Silkroad.

The Silkroad has been linking the Indian sub continent and China with the west since the ancient times.

This large scale pact will link all the regional countries with road, rail and airport.

Iran’s vice minister of finance Masood Karbasian said in an interview with English TV channel Press TV that Iran wanst to be part of the project and can transport 10.2 million products thru this way.

Iran has been developing its southern ports since last several years so that it can link it Northern regions to the Middle Eastern counties.

Some southern ports have already been linked to the Irans northern border with Turkemanistan. According to iranian News agency China has already visited and inspected the port of Shahi Raji.

Some time ago iran had also suggested to build Southern Northern coridor which could link south east Asian countries to Middle East, it was thought that India was keenly interested in this project as India could get way to Middle East thru this route without touching Pakistan.

pakistan map gwadar

 

India was also taking interest in building the Iranian port of Chah Bahar. This port is close to Pakistani port of Gwadar however this project couldnt get started due to sanctions on Iran.

China usualy takes interest in such projects and is quite active in building the Pakistan’s strategic port of Gwadar. In the recent visit of Chinese premiere he had announced the project of Kashgar to Gwadar.

With presense of China in the project law and order situation in Balouchistan will improve . Pakistan will benifit from theis project for which China will spend billions of dollars. If Iran also gets involved in this project it will further expand.

However there are some problems in this project.

Immediatly after the announcement of Gwadar Kashgar project Indian and Pakistan has exchanged statements. On the other hand security situation in Afghanistan can effect the security on this route and if a war errups between the region of Gwadar and Chah Bahar it will create problems.

 

Gilgit is important for the sovernity of Pakistan

Akbar has been driving between Islamabad and Gilgit since last 20 years. He is related to tourism business in Pakistan which has been adversly effected due to law & order situation in Pakistan.

Akbar is concerned with the security situation but is also optimistic that the present government will take measures to improve this situation, however his opinion about the current election in the Gilgit Baltistan are different.

Akbar Hussain say there is still no position of Gilgit Baltistan in the central government of Pakistan. We dont have any representation in the senate nor in the national assambly.

 

World Committee on Tourism Ethics proposes International Convention on Tourism Ethics

The transformation of the Global Code of Ethics into a full international convention as a means to boost the responsibility of governments in this field and advance the impact of the Code was the main topic discussed at the 15th meeting of the WTCE.

Alongside this issue, the WCTE looked into the level of implementation of the Code by public and private sectors as well as at the advances on its priority areas: the fight against child exploitation, accessibility, all inclusive holidays and its impact on local communities, and the issue of unfunded ratings in web portals.

Pascal Lamy, WCTE Chairman and former Director General of the World Trade Organization, highlighted “the importance of the implementation of the principles of the Code of Ethics by both UNWTO Member States and the Private Sector in order to promote an ethical and responsible tourism development.”

“The World Committee on Tourism Ethics has done invaluable work in raising awareness and promoting responsible policies and practices in the tourism sector for over ten years”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the meeting. “Tourism has immense potential to be a force for good, but it requires concrete action from all stakeholders. I therefore fully support the Committee’s proposal to bring the Code further into an international convention”, he added.

In the area of children’s rights, Carol Bellamy, chair of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection and former Director of UNICEF, presented a report on child protection in tourism and supported the transformation of the Code of Ethics into a convention in order to help enforce the principles of child protection worldwide.

The Committee approved a set of specific recommendations on accessible tourist information which will be presented to the 21st session of the UNWTO General Assembly (Medellin, Colombia, 12-17 September 2015) for adoption. It addition, it noted the wide interest of Governments and national tourism administrations in the Code and the growing number of companies and associations that have adhered to the Private Sector Commitment to the Code.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) is the independent body responsible for promoting and overseeing the implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET), a set of principles designed to guide tourism development in a way that maximizes the socio-economic benefits of the sector, while minimizing any negative impacts.

The 16th meeting of the Committee will take place in November 2015.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is a subsidiary organ of the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization UNWTO General Assembly. Its members are elected in their personal capacities and not as officials of governments or representatives of their countries.

 

Safari train tours from Peshawar to Attock Khurd

PESHAWAR: The Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with the Pakistan Railways and Sehrai Travels and Tours initiated train tours from Peshawar to Attock Khurd on Saturday.

Previously these tours were arranged for a select group of people who were invited to travel on the train.

But this time, general public purchased passes and availed of this facility, said additional secretary tourism, culture and youth affairs department Naeem Akhtar, while talking to media persons at the Cantt Railway Station here.

peshawar-attok-safari-train

He along with TCKP general manager events Mohammad Ali Syed welcomed the guests on the platform. The army band played music on the occasion. A large number of students, children, government servants accompanying their families, doctors, media persons and women club’s members participated in this excursion.

The historical tourist resort complex of Attock Khurd is situated on the eastern bank of Indus River near the old iron girder bridge built in 1883, which links Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Punjab.

The old British railway station built around 1880 with its magnificent stone masonry and beautiful Victorian architecture is set in a hilly backdrop of an area steeped in the romance of history.

The British established the North Western Railway Attock Khurd Resort as a popular fishing spot and hunting ground for black partridge and wild fox. On the western bank is a tall First World War memorial. It was built in the memory of the men of the 40th Pathan Regiment which took part in the World War-I.

Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great had built the Attock Fort in 1518 AD. It stands majestically by the side of the Indus and runs two miles in circumference. Remains of the old British Victorian cemetery, Begum ki Sehrai, Bahram ki Baradari, tomb of the unknown dancer and many Hindu, Jain and Sikh temples of the bygone era are located in the vicinity.

The guests enjoyed a rare glimpse of a section of the Rawalpindi-Landi Kotal route. The guests were enthralled by the scenic sites, lush green fields and orchards of peaches and plums, undulating hillocks and the rugged Manglot mountain range. The highlight of the journey was the seven tunnels, welcomed with hooting and loud clapping by the participants.

Another aspect of this journey was that the participants returned to Peshawar via train also. Previously, the train ride was one way and journey to Peshawar was via road.

 

Hund Museum library to be expanded: minister KPK

ajmal-afridi-ministerPESHAWAR: Provincial minister Amjad Afridi has said that library of the Hund Museum would be expanded to promote research activities in the region.

He was speaking as chief guest at a spring festival organised jointly by Pak-Afghan People’s Forum (PAPF) and Qaam Qalam Swabi organisations at Hund Museum hall of a historic village some 80km east of Peshawar the other day.

Mr Afridi, who holds the portfolios of sports, tourism, youth affairs, archeology and museums, said that the provincial government was working on introducing sports, youth affairs and cultural policies.

Other participants highlighted various aspects of the cultural event – Jashne Nauroz. They said that spring festival enhanced collective aesthetic of people and gave them a sense of social connectivity.

Celebrating spring, the minister said, was a golden tradition that used to last for many days both in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the distant past.

He said that Jashne Nauroz brought peoples of both countries together where they could share their feelings to bring peace to their region.

hund-museum2

Afridi says Nauroz brings Pak-Afghan people together
“Hund Museum library will be upgraded to accelerate research and cultural activities at the site. We need to create awareness among people of the importance of our cultural heritage,” he said.

Afghan cultural attaché Abdur Rahman Habibzai said that PAPF could play a vital role in cementing relations among Pakhtuns on both sides. He said that such events could help people to understand each other better and make joint efforts for restoring peace and tranquility.

He said that young people should come forward to revive their shared history and traditions which had kept them united for centuries.

He said that Afghan students who received education in Pakistan had been working on responsible positions in Afghanistan. He said that he expected better facilities for Afghan students in Pakistan, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.