According to experts, the potential of Uzbekistan in cultural, historical, gastronomic, MICE (a type of tourism in which large groups, usually planned well in advance, are brought together), ethno-, eco-, agro-, sports and medical tourism is at an amazing level. Indeed, since ancient times, our country has been located at the crossroads of the historical Great Silk Road and, as the memories of famous travelers show, has attracted the attention of the whole world for centuries.
Today, there are more than 8,200 cultural heritage sites in our country. Four city museums, including Ichan-Kala in Khiva, the historical centers of Bukhara and Shakhrisabz, the crossroads of cultures – Samarkand, and the unique nature of the Chatkal reserve are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. These great cities and the city of Termez fascinate tourists from all over the world as must see places.
So, in recent years, the flow of tourists from fraternal Turkey to our country has doubled. In turn, the visit of our compatriots to this country, which is considered one of the centers of international tourism, has become even more intense. The development of political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries was certainly an important factor. In particular, in October 2017, the governments of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Turkey signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism, the main purpose of which was to actively highlight the tourism potential of both countries. But it is still too early to say that the existing potential in the field of cultural and pilgrimage tourism within the framework of mutual cooperation is being fully used. There are many plans ahead and work to be done.
Our country, like a paradise, is attractive to Turkey.
Information about Turkey’s achievements in the field of culture and tourism is actively distributed in our country in accordance with intergovernmental agreements. It is also an indisputable fact that Turkish films and TV series are gaining huge popularity in the Uzbek market.
For any country in the world that provides goods and services to foreign markets, Uzbekistan, with a population of more than 34 million, is the largest market in Central Asia. In cooperation with solid corporate associations of Turkey, tour operators, media holdings, public organizations, famous artists, scientists, cinematographers, the work is consistently carried out to present the tourist potential of our country, in order to tell about the important reasons for a trip to Uzbekistan, which many Turks call “Homeland”. In recent years, many media outlets, representatives of social networks, bloggers, tour operators from Turkey have been invited to our country, and they have organized excursions to our historical cities. Thanks to their pages in social networks, millions of users have received extensive information about the cultural heritage and tourist opportunities of our country.
Within the framework of the international forum on pillgrimage tourism, a number of prominent religious figures and scientists from the Republic of Turkey visited our country. They had the opportunity to enrich their knowledge and ideas about the role of our ancient cities and great ancestors in the development of the Islamic religion. As a result, Friday prayers of imams and Muftis of the provinces of Istanbul, Bursa, and Konya called for visiting places of pilgrimage in Uzbekistan.
Investing in education – investing in the future
As attracting potential investors from developed countries, including Turkey, to our economy is one of the priority areas of the Development Strategy, cooperation in the field of tourism education becomes more relevant. After all, funds allocated for education are considered an investment in the future. It is gratifying that our country is expanding the scope of interaction with Turkish specialists in the field of tourism education. In addition to attracting faculty members from Turkey to educational institutions, such as Samarkand International University of Tourism “Silk Road”, Margilan Tourism College, our Turkish partners provide significant support in improving the material and technical base of specialized educational institutions, upgrading and equipping laboratories.
Within the framework of the cooperation agreement
Today, it is clear that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine restrictions were imposed in most countries, and the closure of borders “froze” the development of certain sectors of the economy, especially tourism. The international flow of tourists has stopped. Hopefully measures to combat the pandemic will bear fruit, and soon everything will begin to go back to normal on the planet.
There is also a reason to say that after the end of the pandemic, measures to diversify tourism, education and their promotion will continue to be successful within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed in May 2019 with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Radio and Television Administration (TRT).
We consider it appropriate to hold many events aimed at promoting tourism and reflecting the commonality of historical cities of Uzbekistan and Turkey. For example, the topic of the influence of the Samarkand and Bukhara architectural schools on the architecture of Konya and Bursa also deserves special attention and research. Of course, the presentation material about the role of the Maturidi faith, brotherhood (tariqat) Naqshbandiya, scientists and thinkers of Transoxiana in the cultural and religious development of Istanbul, Edirna and Kayseri will not leave anyone indifferent.
At the same time, the new cultural center of Uzbekistan on the Topkapi quarter in Istanbul, which has been restored, can be used to effectively promote the cultural, tourist and investment potential of our country.
The cooperation agreement between the State Agency for Tourism Development and the Turkish Radio and Television Administration (TRT) has given impetus to the acceleration of work in this direction. Thus, the TRT AVAZ TV channel, as part of TRT, specializes in covering the achievements, history and culture of the Turkic-speaking countries, and negotiations are currently underway with the channel’s management on further enhancing cooperation in the field of tourism promotion in Uzbekistan. The TV channel’s creative team is already preparing educational materials, videos and documentaries about historical cities, the priceless national and spiritual wealth of Uzbek people, great thinkers born in our country, and their contribution to world science. After that, they are planned to be distributed in more than 150 countries via TRT broadcasts, which will be another bold step in attracting tourists from all over the world.
Safe tourism is guaranteed
As noted above, the coronavirus pandemic has made a serious blow to global tourism and the tourism industry. Many countries have introduced preferential packages aimed at further stimulating the industry. The main goal is to preserve jobs and sources of income.
Ulugbek AZAMOV, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee
for Tourism Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan