NEWS AND EVENTS
October 20, 2013
Contribution of Uzbekistan to Developing Tourism
The territory of modern Uzbekistan is one of the oldest centers of world civilization and possesses greatest tourism potential among Central Asian countries. Over 4,000 monuments of architecture and art of different epochs and civilizations are located in Uzbekistan.
A total of 90% of monuments reflect the centuries-old history and culture of different religions, especially Islam. The most famous are located in Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisyabz, and Tashkent.
Historical-informative and religious-pilgrimage tourism is rapidly developing in Uzbekistan, due to the presence of monuments of Islam, with their eternal architectural and artistic quality.
Extensive work has been done during the independence years to create a favorable business climate for tourism entities, infrastructure, diversification of tourist services, and personnel training in the tourism sector. Uzbekistan became a member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and a number of historical and cultural sites are included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Tashkent was declared the capital of the world’s Islamic culture.
1. In the framework of a unified state policy in the sphere of tourism—aimed at creating a modern, high-performance and competitive tourist complex—a number of documents were adopted that regulate various aspects of the tourism industry, especially the law “On Tourism.”
The adoption of a program of targeted measures to develop tourism and increase the potential of tourism services in the region for 2011-2012 greatly contributed to growth in that sector. The measures included creating an inventory of regional historical and architectural sights; developing hotel industry and tourism infrastructure; preparing proposals for new and promising tourist services; and training skilled personnel in the field of tourism.
2. Uzbekistan has established an extensive network of hotels, which is able to provide accommodation services that match world standards. There are more than 500 hotels and similar accommodations in the Republic, and over the past six years, more than 200 small and medium private hotels have been built, with a capacity for more than 7,000 people. There are 478 successfully active tourism companies, which are mainly aimed at attracting and serving foreign tourists.
Souvenirs reflecting the national history and culture—as well as fine craftsmanship—are readily available, and Uzbekistan currently has more than 500 enterprises producing souvenirs.
3. Tourism now claims 1.7% of the country’s GDP, whereas it was only 0.1% in the early years of independence.
In 2012, about 1.9 million foreign visitors from more than 100 countries visited Uzbekistan, and their numbers have increased by 5.7 times since 2005. Tourism facilities served over half a million foreign visitors in 2012, which is 10% more than in 2011. The largest flow of tourists comes from East Asia, the Pacific, and Europe. Tourism exports amounted to $178.8 million—a rise of 15.1% from 2011.
According to World Bank experts, the potential of Uzbekistan with an appropriate level of tourism infrastructure development can bring up to $3.5 billion in tourism revenues by 2022 (excluding airfares).
Domestic tourism also began to gain momentum. There are many tourist companies focusing on internal tourism, and currently, 3% of the population of Uzbekistan has traveled within the country, up from only 1% in 2008.