In February 2018, by the presidential decree of the President of Uzbekistan, the State Unitary Enterprise «National PR Center» was created as part of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage, which allowed us to take a fresh look at the huge tourism potential of the country, create a completely new brand of Uzbekistan and promote it far beyond the borders of the republic.
The Center’s team consists of 40 talented and creative specialists, generators of new ideas who truly love their Motherland and promote its tourism opportunities, under the leadership of a young and energetic leader Dilfuza SAMANDAROVA. In her interview, she shared with us about the purposes and goals of the organization, told about successes in various areas of activity related to the promotion of the tourism brand of Uzbekistan abroad.
– We all observe that the tourist image of Uzbekistan on the world stage is growing stronger from year to year. It seems that the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan to create a National PR Center was very far-sighted. What can you say about that?
– That’s true. Tourism plays a major role in the global economy, providing a tenth of the world’s gross national product (GNP). This sector of the economy is developing rapidly and in the coming years will become its most important sector – the annual growth of investment in the tourism industry will be about 30 percent.
Over recent years, tourism has become one of the most profitable types of business in the world and Uzbekistan is no exception. In the time of creating the National PR Center, the goal was to form a favorable tourist image of the Uzbekistan brand abroad, so that as many people as possible would learn about our beautiful country and want to visit it. As you know, today PR or «public relations» is often called a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relations between organizations and the public, as well as the process of building good company relations with various publics by obtaining favorable advertising, creating a good corporate image. The travel and tourism industry thrives only when you have successfully aroused the desire of the population to travel, and public relations can greatly help advertising by creating a favorable image. And the fact that our country has its own PR-manager in the form of our organization is a very timely and strategically thought-out decision.
– The effectiveness of PR can be determined by specific results. Could you put these performance criteria in numbers?
– The primary way to qualitatively assess the activities of an employee is to check the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to him. As such a criterion, our center uses a KPI system (abbreviated from «Key Performance Indicators», key performance indicators) to stimulate and motivate employees, on the basis of which payments to certain employees are calculated depending on the level and quality of implementation of their goals.
And this is actually convenient for me personally as a leader: at any given time, I know what an employee in our team has done, is doing and will do, who is assigned and delegated the task, how it is performed, what results were obtained or why the goal cannot be achieved.
For each department, up to the leading specialist, we have set KPIs, which, in its turn, are designed for effective promotion in general. For example, for one employee of the digital promotion department, the following KPIs are set for the month:
● 10 tourist articles for
● 12 content publications translated into 3 foreign languages (Hindi, Italian, Malay or others) on the Uzbekistan.travel portal;
● 4 content plans for the preparation of promotion in social networks;
● an increase of 350 subscribers in social networks;
● placement of 280 posts in social networks to attract tourists (Telegram, Instagram, Facebook, OK, VK, Tik-Tok, Pinterest, Twitter).
As you can see, there are both target indicators (how many subscribers should increase) and practical indicators (how many posts and articles need to be prepared for this). Based on these KPI coefficients, we can deduce major country PR indicators, such as the number of people who have learned about our country, how many of them have already formed positive thinking about us and others.
– Could you please tell us about this past year’s cultural events and how they contributed to an increase in the flow of tourists, taking into account the period of «standstill» associated with the pandemic?
– The State Unitary Enterprise «National PR Center» under the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Uzbekistan is making considerable efforts to restore the tourist flow to Uzbekistan after the pandemic, one of them we can say is the participation with a single national stand «Uzbekistan» at international tourism exhibitions around the world.
Every year, the exhibition register consists of at least 10-12 events in such countries as Turkey, the UAE, Germany, France, Japan, Kazakhstan and others. Participants of the stand are subjects of the country’s tourism business of the country (travel and transport companies, hotels and others).
Except the participation in tourist expositions, our center coordinates the Days of Uzbekistan in foreign countries. Such events are held with the support of the embassies of Uzbekistan abroad, the program of which usually includes trying Uzbek meals, demonstration of Uzbek folklore (music, dance) and national handicrafts. Moreover, within the framework of the Days of Uzbekistan, negotiations, presentations for business structures and media of these countries are held.
It is necessary to note the increase in interest in visiting Uzbekistan among potential tourists both during exhibition and cultural events, and during a conversation with companies due to the impressive list of countries that do not need to obtain visas.
According to statistics, group tours are still in the lead, and as you know, travel companies bring groups.
And along with all that, when we talk about significant events, it stands to mention our Tashkent International Tourism Fair «Tourism on the Silk Road», which attracts more and more foreign companies each time. From November 30 to December 2, 2022, the 27th fair was held, which became one of the largest in its history. About 400 foreigners from countries such as Belarus, UAE, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, France, Tajikistan, Egypt, Korea, Malaysia and many others arrived to participate in the fair, and it was a huge success for promoting the tourism potential of Uzbekistan.