March 19, 2014
Tourist industry of Uzbekistan: the results achieved in 2013
The year 2013 was fruitful and successful for the country\'s tourist industry. Conducive to the further promotion to the international arena of Uzbekistan\'s tourist potential last year was a series of events, including the Programs of Tourism Development in Khorezm, Surkhandarya, Tashkent and Kashkadarya provinces, approved by the Uzbek leaders; the 1st International Uzbek Tourist Fair (IUTF) and the Festival of Uzbek Pilou as a new direction of gastronomic tourism; the 19th Tashkent International Tourist Fair, Tourism on the Silk Road; the Tourist Forum, Uzbekistan Travel Workshop in the town of Khiva; a number of traditional Mega-Info-Tours for representatives of foreign tourist companies and the mass media and others.

Many components, such as lavish tourist potentialities, ancient towns-museums under the open sky, unique monuments of ancient architecture and splendid natural landscapes turn the Republic into one of the largest tourist states on the globe. That is why much attention is devoted in Uzbekistan to the development of tourism and expansion of corresponding infrastructure as one of the priority directions of the nation\'s socio-economic development.

Historical monuments are restored countrywide, hotels are constructed and transport servicing of foreign guests is improved.

The approval in 2013 of the Programs of Tourism Development in Khorezm, Surkhandarya, Tashkent and Kashkadarya provinces constitutes a new stage in the development of national tourism. More than US $260 million is stipulated to implement in these regions. Additionally, these Programs provide for the implementation of projects to develop the industry\'s infrastructure, such as repairs of roads that lead to the most popular sights, the improvement of engineering facilities in the tourist centers all over the Republic, the construction of hotels, restaurants, parks, bowling clubs and other entertainment centers for tourists. Remarkably, the Programs in question envisage a comprehensive package of privileges for project initiators.

For the time being, a certain portion of work has been done under these Programs. A number of new hotels, restaurants and other tourist centers have been built and several existing ones have been reconstructed across Uzbekistan. Besides, the creation of many new sights is in the making, and a variety of cultural programs are introduced for tourists. The centers of tourism in the Republic\'s historical towns are provided with Wi-Fi communication. In addition to the existing popular tourist routes, many new ones are created in the country. The frequency of air and rail services, together with a flexible price formation system, has boosted a number of visitors arriving in Uzbekistan from abroad. Commencement of the operation on the Tashkent-Samarkand route of the Afrosiab high-speed train (made by the Spanish firm, Talgo) and the Afsona train, which deals with individual requests from tourist agencies, has facilitated the frequency of visits.

When it comes to the development of national tourism, special emphasis is laid on international cooperation and the study of advanced international experience. Beginning from 2013, the Republic\'s tourist potential at various international exhibitions and fairs is represented by the single National Stand, called \"Uzbekistan\". And the results of participation in the following large-scale tourist events confirm the correctness of a given strategy: Fitur (Madrid, Spain), Emitt (Istanbul, Turkey), Balttour (Riga, Latvia), ITB (Berlin, Germany), MITT (Moscow, Russia), TopResa (Paris, France), JATA ( Tokyo, Japan) , TTG (Rimini, Italy), WTM (London, the UK) and others. The number of cooperation agreements concluded by Uzbekistan in the course of these events is impressive.

The 19th Tashkent International Tourist Fair, Tourism on the Silk Road, held in October of the last year, was a great success. Representatives of more than 40 countries took part in the event. At the present time, a great deal of spade-work is underway for the jubilee 20th Tashkent International Tourist Fair-2014, a grandiose event in the tourist industry of Uzbekistan.

In November 2013, an Uzbek delegation arrived in London (the UK) to participate in the Ministerial Summit staged by the UN World Travel Organization (UNWTO).

The UNWTO highly assessed the leading role played by the Republic of Uzbekistan in solidifying international collaboration in the development of tourist infrastructure on the Great Silk Road. A regional office of this prestigious international organization was opened in the country as far back as 1994. Nowadays, the UNWTO office in Uzbekistan is successfully for the benefit of international tourism development in the Silk Road nations. As well as that, this organization is involved in implementing a number of projects. It also maintains active cooperation with national tourist organizations in UNWTO member states. The demonstration on the Euronews Channel of an advertising clip that promotes Uzbekistan\'s tourist potential, and a series of special documentary films about the country\'s ancient towns of Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara and Khiva, has helped to acquaint millions of its spectators with the rich historical and cultural heritage of Uzbek people. The channel\'s audience will continue watching video accounts about the most fascinating sights and the spiritual-cultural wealth of Uzbekistan, to be broadcast on the Euronews Channel in 2014.

During the visit of an Uzbek delegation to Japan in December 2013, a \"round-table\" discussion convened in the Uzbek Embassy in Japan was attended by 70 representatives from Japanese tourist agencies and the mass media. The participators deliberated on a range of issues surrounding the promotion of Uzbekistan as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the Central Asian region and the organization of a broad advertising campaign in Japan intended to highlight the Republic\'s huge potentialities in the field of tourism.

Another direction, whose development is strongly stimulated these days, is the conduct by competent overseas experts in the field of tourism of master-classes for their Uzbek colleagues. Several such events, including the training session, \"The World of Restaurant and Hotel: Up-and-coming trends in the world culinary art\" conducted by Hans Dirk Halbfel, a world famous cooking specialist, were organized by the National Company, Uzbektourism\'s Republican Scientific-Educational Center. They helped domestic specialists in the hospitality industry to enrich their experience and adopt advanced foreign methods.

Today, the industry of hospitality occupies a top position in the global exportation of goods and services. The annual international tourist flow already numbers one million people, with the figure rising year after year. What is also remarkable is that the number of overseas guests visiting Uzbekistan has been showing a steady upward trend.

According to statistics, as many as 1,977,600 foreigners arrived in the Republic in 2013. Last year, the total volume of tourist services grew by over 16 per cent on the 2012 level. The export of services saw a 9 per cent rise on the same period. At the beginning of 2014, the number of tourist agencies in the country exceeded 900, including more than 400 hotels and 500 tourist companies.

(Source: “Business partner.uz” newspaper)


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