Uzbekistan, often referred to as the “Pearl of the East,” is a treasure trove of unique architecture, rich traditions, and vibrant culture. Each year, the country welcomes an increasing number of tourists, captivated by its exotic allure. Recognizing the potential for growth, the Uzbek government has recently enacted groundbreaking reforms to elevate the tourism industry to new heights.
On July 27, 2023, the President of Uzbekistan issued a transformative decree aimed at accelerating reforms and optimizing public administration in the tourism sector. This decree serves as a cornerstone for innovative solutions that will not only boost tourism but also provide substantial support to tour operators and investors.
Financial Incentives to Fuel Growth
Starting January 1, 2024, tour operators will receive incentive subsidies ranging from $20 to $300 for each tourist they bring into the country from nations with low tourist flow. These subsidies will be funded equally by the State budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Tourism Support Fund.
Additionally, during the winter season, tour operators and air carriers will be compensated for organizing charter flights to key international airports like Samarkand, Bukhara, and Urgench. Tourists staying for at least five nights will further enhance the subsidy, making Uzbekistan an attractive winter destination.
Investing in Infrastructure and Remote Tourism
For those looking to invest in the hospitality sector, the government will partially cover the costs of constructing new hotels with a minimum height of five floors, provided they are completed by December 31, 2026. Moreover, legal entities organizing camping and safari tourism in remote areas will benefit from significantly reduced land and property taxes, thereby encouraging the development of unique and adventurous experiences.
The decree places a strong emphasis on the advanced training of specialists and the development of highly qualified personnel in line with international standards. Through partnerships with top-ranked foreign universities, Uzbekistan is revising its higher education programs and introducing internationally recognized curricula.
Starting from the 2023/2024 academic year, the International University of Tourism and Cultural Heritage “Silk Road” will receive an annual allocation of at least 10 billion soums from the state budget. This will facilitate the training of citizens from countries that are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Organization of Turkic States, and nations along the Great Silk Road.
Cultivating the Next Generation of Tourism Leaders
Special courses have been designed to train guides and translators in languages like Chinese and Korean. Students will delve deep into the history, customs, and traditions of Uzbekistan, gaining skills in oratory and business planning. This comprehensive approach ensures that the future leaders of Uzbekistan’s tourism industry are well-equipped to meet global standards.
Expanding Tourism Beyond the Cities
Finally, the decree outlines plans for large-scale capacity-building events across the republic. From sports tourism to specialized medical centers and trade points, the government is committed to diversifying the tourism offerings, making Uzbekistan a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a blend of adventure, culture, and luxury.