- 2017 year - the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests
- The Strategy of Actions on Further Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan
- Chairmanship of Uzbekistan in the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC
- Central Asia - the priority of foreign policy of Uzbekistan
- Problems of water resources in the Central Asia
- Events at Uzbekistan's overseas missions
Tourism is the future of Uzbekistan’s economy
On February 22, a meeting dedicated to a critical analysis of effectiveness of measures taken on increasing the flow of foreign tourists, further development of domestic tourism, improvement and expansion of tourism services was held under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The colossal potential of Uzbekistan in the sphere of tourism has not been used effectively and fully for many years. Favorable economic and organizational-legal conditions for development of tourism were not created, activity in the sphere was neglected.
According to the Decree of the Head of the state “On measures of ensuring accelerated development of tourism industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan” of December 2, 2016, tourism is defined as a strategic branch of the economy of Uzbekistan. Program of priority measures on development of tourism for 2018-2019 was approved by the Resolution of the President of August 16, 2017.
Four important documents, adopted by the President only in February of this year, related to this sphere is the embodiment of high attention paid by the state to the development of tourism. These documents identified priority tasks on solving problems accumulated in the industry, increasing the tourism potential, providing many benefits and preferences for further development of domestic tourism.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, highlighting the role of tourism in the economy, analyzed in detail the current state of the sphere and measures taken on its development.
An increase in the number of staff units of the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Tourism Development and its territorial divisions, organization of departments and tourism offices in the regions, introduction of the post of deputy khokim on the issues of tourism development has expanded capabilities of these departments.
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Since February 10 this year, a visa-free regime for 30 days has been established for citizens of Israel, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey and Japan. In addition, the procedure for issuing visas to citizens of 39 countries has been simplified. Electronic visas will be introduced from July 1, 2018.
At the meeting held under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, instructions were given on completing the introduction of e-visas in a timely manner, further simplifying this system with the study of world experience and consistent simplification of the order of visiting Uzbekistan by foreign tourists.
It was noted that the order, according to which tourists should be registered at the place of residence within 3 days from the time of arrival in Uzbekistan, creates inconvenience for them. It was emphasized that ensuring safety of tourists is the task of law enforcement agencies.
A tourist should travel, not wasting time in law enforcement agencies. If we want to create jobs through tourism, it is necessary not to make demands on tourists, but create conditions for them, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
In this connection, instructions were given on transferring the registration system completely to the electronic format, imposing registration obligations on internal affairs bodies, hotels, medical institutions, private houses and other individuals and legal entities that host tourists, freeing them from this affair.
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At the meeting, held on February 22 under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, it was noted that almost 2 million 700 thousand tourists visited Uzbekistan in 2017. This indicator was analyzed from a qualitative point of view. It was noted that most of tourists are those who come to see relatives, to study, for medical, commercial and other purposes.
The State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Tourism Development was tasked to ensure, together with relevant ministries and agencies, an increase in the number of tourists in all promising areas of tourism and the volume of real export of tourism services by at least two times in the next 5 years.
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At the meeting dedicated to a critical analysis of effectiveness of measures taken on increasing the flow of foreign tourists, particular attention was paid to the role of air transportation in enhancing tourism potential.
According to the World Tourism Organization, almost 60 percent of the world’s tourists enjoy air travel, despite the high cost of its services.
Passivity of Uzbekistan Airways in this direction has been severely criticized. Effective work is not conducted on optimizing the prices for air tickets, opening new flights, expanding possibilities for transit transportation of passengers and the geography of flights.
In this regard, Uzbekistan Airways was given a number of tasks. Thus, modern marketing technologies will be introduced into the airline’s activity, opportunity will be created for purchasing air tickets through systems present in leading airports of the world, mobile communication facilities. It is envisaged to introduce the “Open skies” regime in “Karshi” airport on the basis of studying foreign experience. In the future such a system will be introduced in the airports of Andijan, Nukus and Navoi.
As noted at the meeting, after the introduction of a 30-day visa-free regime, all tickets from Israel to Uzbekistan were bought up to June in 2 days. Therefore, the number of flights to countries, in respect of which the visa-free regime has been introduced, will be increased. In addition to the city of Tashkent, direct flights abroad will also be carried out from Bukhara, Samarkand, Urgench, Navoi and Karshi.
The President paid attention even to the smallest details affecting the stay of tourists in Uzbekistan, including dim illumination in airport halls, non-use of all available passport control booths, artificial queues, disorder of private taxi owners’ activities. Instructions were given on eliminating these and other shortcomings.
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Issues of extending tourism season, expanding the types of provided services and improving the tourism infrastructure were discussed at the meeting held under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The main part of hotels is located in Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand, despite this, in the tourism season, there is a shortage of seats even there. Instructions were given on increasing the number of hotels, creating private accommodation facilities and guest houses, allocating land plots to entrepreneurs for these purposes. The need was noted for increasing the number of sanitary-hygienic stations at places of tourist visits and along highways.
Instructions were given on improving the system of visiting cultural heritage sites, installing turnstiles, video cameras and road signs, organizing information centers and providing a wide range of tourist-attractive services.
At the meeting, special attention was paid to the issue of increasing foreign exchange earnings through creation of new types of trade services. The need was noted for producing souvenirs and their sale in special kiosks, opening “Duty Free” and “Tax Free” stores in operating airports of tourist cities, organization of car rental centers and Wi-Fi zones with involvement of business entities.
Reports of officials on the ongoing work of creating round-the-clock tourist zones in historical cities, “Ancient Bukhara” and “Samarkand city” tourist zones were heard.
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Issues of development of domestic tourism were discussed at the meeting dedicated to a critical analysis of effectiveness of measures taken on increasing the flow of foreign tourists.
Recommendations were given on formation of a tradition of visiting the regions of the country by the population, especially by activists of makhallas, the elderly, youth and low-income families, increasing the share of expenditures for excursions in the budget of trade union organizations.
Uzbekistan has a great potential in the sphere of pilgrimage tourism. For creating necessary amenities in this direction, the Department for supporting pilgrimage tourism has been established in the structure of the Committee for Religious Affairs under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a visa-free regime has been introduced for countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and Indonesia.
At the meeting it was noted that opportunities available in this sphere are not being fully used, a number of pilgrimage sites are in poor condition.
There are many mausoleums of scholars, sacred sites in our country that are recognized in the Islamic world, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev. For example, the last refuge of 12 spiritual guides, who had preached the teaching of Naqshbandiyya, were found in various regions. Currently, we are working on improvement of 8 complexes, including of seven spiritual guides in Bukhara and Khoja Ahror Vali in Samarkand. However, the mausoleums of Muhammad Zahid Bukhari, Alauddin Attor in Surkhandarya, Muhammad Darvesh, Muhammad Imganaki in Kashkadarya need to be repaired.
In this regard, the khokims of Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions were given instructions on ensuring improvement of these pilgrimage sites, improving the condition of roads leading to them, creating all conditions for pilgrims.
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Issues of promoting Uzbekistan’s tourism brand abroad were thoroughly discussed at the meeting held on February 22 under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The need was noted for advertising the investment, trade and tourism potential of Uzbekistan under a single brand, coordinating activities of relevant structures. The National Television and Radio Company of Uzbekistan, the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications were given instructions on organizing an international television channel with round-the-clock broadcasting, which will promote the tourism potential of Uzbekistan and transmit various interesting travel programs.
It was noted that our ambassadors in foreign countries should promote Uzbekistan, our national values, and compatriots abroad should also make contribution to this. Priority tasks for the development of tourism have been identified.
Reports of officials of the industry, ambassadors of our country abroad and leaders at places were heard.