1244 GMT August 09, 2022
In a short period of time, large-scale measures have been implemented to further develop the tourism infrastructure, diversify tourism products of various profiles to actively attract tourists to Uzbekistan.
A powerful impetus for the development of the tourism sector can be the Decree “On creating additional conditions for the further development of tourism, culture, cultural heritage and sports” (January 15, 2022) recently signed by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
It should be noted that the development of tourism in Uzbekistan was undoubtedly given new impulse by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan issued in February 2018 “On measures to ensure the accelerated development of the tourism industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan”. The tourism sector was given the status of a strategic sector of the economy. The main attention was paid to turning it into a powerful sphere of sustainable growth of the state economy, the effective use of the tourism potential of the regions, increasing the impact of tourism on improving the standard of living and prosperity of the population.
To stimulate entrepreneurial activity in the tourism industry, tax and customs benefits have been introduced for the construction and organization of the activities of hotel facilities, theme parks, when importing tourist-class vehicles and others. There are more than 20 benefits and preferences in this direction.
In addition, in order to widely attract foreign investors to the industry, public-private partnership mechanisms are being adopted that stimulate the contribution of investments in the development of tourism infrastructure facilities.
Simplification of the visa regime between countries, along with ensuring the mobility of citizens, reduces the cost of registration, increases the flow of foreign tourists.
For these purposes, starting from 2018, the visa regime has been radically simplified in Uzbekistan. In particular, a visa-free regime has been established for citizens of 90 countries. In addition, a system for issuing electronic visas has been introduced for citizens of 80 states, including for Iran.
For some categories of foreign citizens, five new types of visas have been introduced: "Vatandosh", "Talaba", "Akademik", "Tibbiyot" and "Ziyorat". According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the simplification of the visa regime has yielded positive results. In particular, in 2019, if the average growth in the number of foreign tourists was 26%, then the growth rate among countries where a visa-free regime was introduced reached 58%.
To meet the demand caused by a sharp increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Uzbekistan, the state has taken comprehensive measures to increase accommodation facilities.
Firstly, 22 types of requirements regulating the activities of hostels related to the type of budget housing have been abolished. In particular, the procedure for mandatory certification of hotel services provided by hostels has been canceled, and the practice of working with a single register of guest houses and hostels has been introduced.
Secondly, in order to increase the number of small hotels, entrepreneurs were provided with 8 standard projects of small hotels up to 50 rooms free of charge, developed based on the experience of Turkey and South Korea.
Thirdly, in order to attract more foreign investment in this area, a number of incentives were introduced for the construction of hotels on the basis of public-private partnerships.
As a result of the work performed, the number of accommodation places in the country has increased sharply. In particular, from 2016 to 2020, their number increased from 750 to 1,308, and the number of beds increased from 34,000 to 62,000.
Also, in 2018-2020, the number of guest houses increased by 13 times to 1386. Their number is scheduled to be increased to 2 thousand.
In recent years, practical measures have been taken in Uzbekistan to diversify the structure of tourism services and develop new types of tourism. In particular, much attention is paid to increasing the flow of tourists through MICE tourism, that is, organizing various tournaments, meetings, conferences and exhibitions in Uzbekistan.
The government also approved the Action Plan for the development of MICE tourism in Uzbekistan. As a result of the measures taken to develop new types of tourism, a number of major international events in various fields have been held in the country in recent years.
The progressive development of the entire tourism sector of the country as a whole made it possible to include Uzbekistan in various international ratings regarding tourism with high rates.
The American financial and economic magazine "Forbes" has included Uzbekistan among the top 50 travel destinations in 2022.
The publication notes that the developed infrastructure of Uzbekistan will allow the traveler to easily get from the capital of Tashkent to Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, which are one of the main cities on the Great Silk Road.
It is noted that almost every city on this route is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is rich in attractions.
Recently, the website of the popular British online publication "The Independent" published an article "The best places for tourist trips in 2022".
Based on the recommendations of travel writers, the editors have chosen the 10 most popular places to visit this year. This list includes the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, Canada, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Bhutan and Uzbekistan.
When planning a trip to Uzbekistan, the author advises his readers to include in their schedule international festivals and other major cultural events that will be held during 2022 and will certainly arouse great interest among tourists.
Among them are the "Lazgi International Dance Festival" in Khiva, the "Element Electronic Music Festival" in Muynak, the "Lavender Festival" in Kokand, the "Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival" in Samarkand, the "Silk Road Literary Festival" in Tashkent and Bukhara, and the "International Craftsmen Festival" in Kokand and the "Tashkent International Film Festival".
In addition, lovers of art and architecture can also visit the opening this year of the "Center for Islamic Civilization" and the reconstructed "State Museum of Art".
It should also be noted that on December 9, 2021, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev got acquainted with the presentation of projects to be implemented in the Samarkand region.
The projects are aimed at turning Samarkand into a modern city, improving the comfort of life of the population, the activities of entrepreneurs and investors, and developing the tourism sector.
Due to the implementation of new projects, it is planned to make Samarkand a tourist hub of Uzbekistan. According to calculations, the volume of the local market of tourist services will increase 10 times over the next 5 years.
The flow of foreign guests will be increased to 5 million people a year. More than 600 hotels and hostels will be opened for them - they will provide jobs for about 40 thousand people.
The largest project in this area will be a complex of tourist and business centers on an area of 212 hectares. It will include an international congress center, the Eternal City caravanserai and a handicraft center.
8 hotels and a number of entertainment facilities will also be built here. These projects will create over 5,000 new jobs.
It should be noted that in 2023 Samarkand will host the 25th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). During the voting at the 24th session of the UNWTO in Madrid (Spain) regarding the place of convening the General Assembly, Uzbekistan bypassed Portugal.
For the first time in history, the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization will be held in Uzbekistan. All this is the result of the policy pursued by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the development of the tourism sector and efforts to increase the prestige of the country on the world stage.
Holding a session of the UNWTO General Assembly in ancient Samarkand will attract more than a thousand foreign guests and bring income to the local population and artisans. In addition, holding a high-level event in Uzbekistan will serve to promote the country's tourism potential and attract even more tourists.
The UNWTO General Assembly is the most important biennial tourism forum, and the holding of such a high-level event of the UN family in Uzbekistan is the first historical event.