Tourism development positively influences on activation of financial processes. The investor makes the decision basing on tourist flows in the country from different parts of the world. Tourist flows, as a barometer, objectively evaluate social and economic situation in the country. A peaceful environment, security and political stability are of great importance as well.
Effective development of international tourism requires mobilization of all internal resources – reconstruct historical and architectural monuments; improve places of worship; bring activities of local tourists companies in line with international standards; increase capacities of hotel, communication, transport infrastructure and entertainment facilities; develop sanatorium, health-resort and sports directions. At the same time, the effective organization of work of united economic and organizational complexes of related organisations, i.e. tourist clusters, is necessary.
The decree No. UP-4861 of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated December 2, 2016 “About Measures for Ensuring the Accelerated Development of Tourist Industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan” has given new impetus to implement program projects in this sphere. The scope of set tasks is that the use of tourism potential to the fullest extent possible plays an important role in improving socio-economic and financial capacities of our republic.
The decree provides for comprehensive and effective use of tourism potential, accelerated development of other perspective types of tourism, along with traditional cultural and historical tourism, – pilgrimage, ecological, educational, ethnographic, gastronomy, sports, health and medical tourism. Development of children’s, youth and family destinations of tourism and social tourism for older persons is connected with fulfillment of national and regional programs.
Since the second quarter of the current year, international airports of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench have introduced “Green corridor” system for foreign tourists. The system simplifies the procedure of passport and customs control and baggage claiming. Transport service is being improved, airports and railway stations develop and introduce tourist navigation system, orienteering signs are being installed, level and quality of services rendered to passengers, including free of charge services, are being systematically improved.
Exemption of travel companies from obligatory sales of foreign exchange revenues from rendered tourist services and exemption of legal entities from payment of profit tax for five years and from payment of land tax, property tax and single tax, in case of putting into operation of not lower than 4-star hotels and motels, promote comprehensive development of tourism in our republic.
Strengthening of tourism infrastructure in the country, training of qualified personnel, development of tourism marketing and management and also improvement of hotel business, meeting the level of international standards, create conditions for development of international tourism. Reconstruction of architectural monuments, promotion of ecotourism, strengthening of personnel structure, in-depth analysis of factors of effectiveness and, basing on it, introduction of means to provide development of system, positively influence on increase in volume of tourist services and their share in the GDP of the country.
Presently, when talking about attracting tourists to the republic, it is, first of all, necessary, to objectively evaluate internal possibilities and comprehensively study the available potential and what particular factors are connected with it. Undoubtedly, there are large reserves of our country that have been not completely studied yet and could be introduced to tourists.
Uzbekistan is a paradise on earth, but we often forget that to develop any branch it is necessary to work hard. We know well that maps of each territory have been developed and tourist routes have been defined. But encouraging the strong interest and increase in demand is not an easy work. This means that it is necessary to work hard and continue the serious reflection process.
Today tourism is profitable and stably developing industry. Its share in the global economy makes 9%, annual volume equals to 1.3 trillion USD, the share in total employment amounts to 9.2%. The employment indicator in this branch is about 3% in our republic, and this shows that there are unused reserves in this sector. Uzbekistan has been ranking at the top of the UNESCO World Heritage List among other countries of Central Asia. However, 85% of the total number of tourists visiting our country is made by people of 50-60 years of age. This testifies that it is still more needed to be done to attract other categories of tourists.
In the world there are countries that give impression of primitive communal system, but they offer such means and facilities which fascinate tourists. Their resourcefulness may surprise. We are far from thought that it is necessary to choose this way. In our country other aspects yield positive results in pursuing the aims and allow to develop tourism – promoting of national traditions and customs, ancient writing, ancient monuments that tell about stages of historical development, sites of pilgrimage that keep secrets of centuries.
A number of tourists and foreign explorers dream to see just for once a cradle of ancient civilization, open-air museums – unique Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva. Indeed, these cities may tell about the distant past, ancient way of living, culture and traditions of our people. But there are some more historical cities of our country that are little-known to people of the world. Today tourist flow to ancient cities, that surprise the whole world by their unique historical and cultural monuments, is at unsatisfactory level. This means that we should learn to effectively use our own social and natural resources!
Is there a need to describe tens of attractive places of the Bostanlyk, Parkent and Pskent regions, slopes of the Tian Shan mountains, Ugam-Chatkal state national natural park, Beldersay?! And in what territory of Fergana valley it is impossible to develop tourism?! Such questions are constantly arising.
Sites of pilgrimage located in the Syr-Darya province are becoming sacred for our compatriots.
There are opportunities to establish the most luxurious tourist centers in unique highlands of the Jizzakh province – in the Zaamin, Bakhmal and Farish regions, and in the Urgut, Kattakurgan and Koshrabad regions of the Samarkand province. The capacity of the tourism industry may be demonstrated by using all resources and developing accessible recreation sites in the Shahrisabzs, Kitab and Dekhkanabad regions of the Kashkadarya province, in mountain territories of the Baysun region of the Surkhan-Darya province, in steppe zones of the Bukhara, Navoiy and Khorezm provinces and near to ruins of ancient fortresses of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
While effectively using natural resources, first of all, it is necessary to set priorities on ensuring environmental safety, reaching the level of environment protection as per the world standards, active implementation of state policy in the sphere of natural resources protection and allocating special responsibilities for issues of inter-branch complex management to the authorized bodies. Supporting these factors will contribute to addressing priority tasks of the economy, including development of new directions of tourism, preserving the beauty of the country for the future generation and protecting the abundant flora and fauna.
Uzbekistan is distinguished from other countries of Central Asia by a number of natural lakes and artificial reservoirs; and this grounds for stable development of rural and gastronomy types of tourism in the republic.
However, it is easier to give advice. Presently to implement mentioned proposals it is necessary to address a serious issue: to define effective accessible mechanisms, available funds and financing sources. Viability and efficiency of the given projects will be provided if they are developed taking into account economic and social situation of the selected territory, attitudes of the local population, views of specialists and business entities and the public, and also of the experts who have sufficient experience in this sphere.
Moreover, it is necessary to develop new types of tourism taking into consideration specific lifestyle of the population in regions of the country. For example, emphasizing the concept of tourist cluster we should construct a small settlement located close to cluster centres and consisting of five-six houses. Residents of this settlement could be engaged in cottage industry and handicraft. The main objective is to achieve rapprochement between foreign tourists and local population. Staying within several days in the settlement, tourists will learn about national customs, priceless heritage and hospitality of our people. Besides, it is difficult to find an expert who could better than a local person introduce the natural beauty of the land and tell about traditions and customs of the people living there. Certainly, the fulfillment of this project requires special training and appropriate funding.
Customs and traditions of the people living in Uzbekistan testify to interrelatedness of national mentality and universal human values. Regional peculiarities of customs and lifestyle are the core for implementation of available capabilities of tourism sphere. Thus, establishment of small settlements near to cluster centers will promote to fully represent features of different nationalities and, by that, to develop new types of tourism.
For instance, establishment of special zones in mountains, steppe and hilly territories with unique natural beauty attracting tourists will promote development of eco-tourism. This will definitely yield good results. Territories with small numbers of population have prospects to develop types of tourism which will show traditional features of everyday life of small indigenous groups. National traditions and cultural values of our people are well-preserved in settlements which are engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and gardening.
Formation of tourism infrastructure will provide for increase of social activity of the local population involved in this sphere. Village residents will develop national types of crafts, as well as advanced and modern methods of service and guest care.
In any place of our country it is possible to develop a certain type of tourism depending on the production specialization inherent in the region. There are some examples to explain our opinion. Each region of our country is famous for its type of craft. Turakurgan, Kuva, Denau and Bakhmal are well-known for fruits, therefore, fruit growing is being developed there; in Kattakurgan, Altyaryk and Margelan – winegrowing; Rishtan, Samarkand, Tashkent and Karshi – pottery; Margelan, Namangan, Shahrisabz – silk farming; Shakhrikhan – handicraft; Bukhara – gold-embroidery craft; Choust — is known for knife-making. But, what is the reason to list all these types? The matter is that taking into account these factors, while establishing cluster center, we can define what type of tourism will be most effective to be developed in the certain region.
The expressed opinions highlight particular importance of the need to make a proper choice for implementing the strategic approach to demonstrate internal and external capacities of our republic. This path will form the basis for the great future, strengthening of the position of our country in the world community!
“EBU” Special Correspondent