As part of the opening of the 25th General Assembly of the UNWTO World Tourism Organization in Samarkand, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev made a number of important statements. The President of Uzbekistan called tourism one of the most promising sectors of development of the world economy. As part of the systematic expansion of the tourism industry, Uzbekistan has introduced a visa-free regime for hundreds of countries, and another 55 countries can receive an electronic visa in a simplified format.
In just two years, the authorities have implemented over 800 tourism infrastructure projects in the country and established 70 new tourist routes. In addition, 6 private air carriers began operating in Uzbekistan. The measures have already borne fruit: the number of foreign tourists in Uzbekistan has doubled, and tourism income has quadrupled. It is expected that up to 15 million foreign tourists will soon visit the country.
Ambitious plan for comprehensive development of the industry
The leader of Uzbekistan said during the UNWTO that until 2030 the country will pay special attention to the development of tourism and transport infrastructure. In the coming years, new roads and railways will appear in the state, and the size of the aircraft fleet will increase significantly. 30 large clusters will appear in tourist attraction points.
The strategy for the integrated development of tourism in Uzbekistan will increase the number of cultural sites attractive to tourists from 800 to 2.5 thousand. The restoration of 745 cultural monuments has been announced, and “open-air museums” will appear on the territory of 20 of them. In addition, President Sh. Mirziyoyev announced plans to create joint tourist routes with neighboring Central Asian states. As a result of the planned actions, the economy of Uzbekistan will receive at least 1 million new jobs.
Among other things, Shavkat Mirziyoyev recalled the importance of providing tourists with guaranteed safety and raised issues of ecotourism that does not harm the country’s environment. The President also proposed declaring 2025 the World Year of Inclusive Tourism to provide decent conditions for travelers with disabilities.
During the UNWTO General Assembly, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev received Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili in Samarkand. At the meeting, increasing the tourism potential of Uzbekistan was discussed. The UNWTO Secretary General thanked the President of Uzbekistan for his assistance in organizing the main international event of the tourism industry.
The leader of the organization noted that the participation in the forum from over 140 countries of the world clearly demonstrates the growing interest in Uzbekistan as one of the centers of world tourism every year. In addition, the participants of the anniversary General Assembly adopted a roadmap for the practical implementation of the agreements reached during the meeting.
Also in mid-November this year, the 28th Tashkent International Tourism Fair “Tourism on the Silk Road” was held in Uzbekistan. A major tourism event clearly demonstrated the tourism potential of Uzbekistan. Visitors were able to explore new destinations in the country's tourism sector and learn about the latest industry trends.
Human resource potential of tourism in Uzbekistan
The authorities of Uzbekistan are actively engaged in training personnel in the tourism industry. It is noted that from 2023, at least 10 billion soums will be allocated to the Silk Road International University of Tourism and Cultural Heritage. State budget funds will be used for master's studies on the basis of a state grant for citizens belonging to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Organization of Turkic States of countries, as well as countries located on the Great Silk Road.
Students will also undergo internships during the tourist season. The Tourism Support Fund organizes salaries for young specialists.
The program will allow producing guides-translators into Chinese, Korean and other foreign languages. Students study history, customs and traditions, get acquainted with the architecture, as well as legends and folklore of the country. Experienced tourism specialists will conduct master classes for students and teach them public speaking skills. And those who plan to open their own travel agencies in the future will be offered business development training.
Not Samarkand alone: increasingly popular regions of Uzbekistan
Traditionally, tourism in Uzbekistan is associated with Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva - UNESCO World Heritage cities. But today, new points of attraction are increasingly gaining popularity in the country, the existence of which many tourists might not have known before. These are, for example, cities such as Tashkent, Kokand and Andijan.
Let us recall that in 2019, the authorities adopted the Presidential Decree “On additional measures for the accelerated development of tourism in the Republic of Uzbekistan” dated January 5, and also approved the Concept for the development of tourism in the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2019–2025. The documents imply comprehensive measures for the development of the industry and the creation of favorable conditions in the investment and tax spheres.
Today, guests of Uzbekistan can enjoy the legendary Tashkent pilaf, purchase a knife forged by hereditary blacksmiths in Shakhri Khan (Andijan region), and also admire handmade ancient traditional embroidery in the style of Basma and Iroki. Here you can add Fergana wood carvings, Surkhandarya tandir kebab served on an Andijan ceramic dish and, of course, the endless beauty of oriental landscapes.
Every visitor to Uzbekistan can choose activities to his liking. Guests will find numerous historical attractions and architectural masterpieces from different eras. During the trip, tourists will see the rich heritage of Islamic architecture, striking examples of Soviet architecture, as well as modern majestic buildings. Nature lovers will especially enjoy the picturesque landscapes: forests, mountain rivers, waterfalls, lakes, as well as deserts with golden sands, dunes and oases.
The country is deservedly considered one of the main centers of world tourism. Uzbekistan was named the best tourism destination in Central Asia according to the international publishing house Lonely Planet. And The Economist magazine recognized the state as the most sustainable developing country in the region thanks to legislative changes and initiatives carried out in recent years.
Photo: Tourism Committee under the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan.