Pilot sector tourism: A successful evaluation of project’s activities

The EU funded project “Support to the Education sector in Turkmenistan” strengthens state capacity to better align with global trends and the accelerating pace of change. A portfolio of more than 30 activities includes the pilot sector tourism, with an update of teaching materials for tour guides.
On September 15, 2018, a focus group of international experts and expats evaluated current achievements. The group included honorable guests Ms. Andrea Brouilette-Rodriguez, Deputy U.S. Ambassador; Ms. Carolin Echt, Deputy German Ambassador; and Prof. Dr. Christian Siewert, University Dresden, Germany. A guided tour of the National Carpet museum gave insights about the central role of carpets to Turkmens culture and identity, from the cradle to the grave.
After that, a lively discussion occurred how best to communicate the unique Turkmen heritage to foreign tourists.
Preliminary results from the brainstorming session covers: provision of guidance on how to learn more about Turkmen carpets, including a list of carpet shops in Ashgabat and the rest of the country; development of packages that present the textile industry in a holistic way between the past and today; adjusting the focus from scientific description to storytelling; intensification of interactivity, and provision of more authentic insights about the way of life of Turkmen nomads in the past.
In the perception of participants, the proposed format is appropriate. It encourages thinking out of the box and bridges the expat community with the tourism industry. Within the framework of sector councils in tourism, supported by the project, a dialogue can emerge that is beneficial to both sides.
As a result, the project plans six more similar events until March 2019. In a best-case scenario, the experience will give an impulse to new forms of knowledge exchange and networking that strengthen not only the educational infrastructure and benefits skill levels but improves client orientation, diversity and quality of service offered.

On the cover photo (left to right): Ms Andrea Brouilette-Rodriguez, Deputy U.S. Ambassador; Ms Carolin Echt, Deputy German Ambassador; and Prof. Dr Christian Siewert, University Dresden, Germany.

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