Big interview

Our Goal: Maximal Use of Tourism Potential of Uzbekistan


     In the near future, it is planned to increase the share of the tourism industry in the country’s economy to 5% (according to the results of the pre-pandemic 2019 – 2.7%), as well as attracting more than 9 million tourists by 2025 by developing the necessary infrastructure and successfully promoting the tourism potential of the republic in world markets.
The First Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ulugbek Akhmadovich AZAMOV, in an interview with our publication, spoke about measures to develop particularly popular and promising types of tourism, the implementation of tourist projects in the regions and other equally pressing issues of the development of the sphere.
     – Ulugbek Akhmadovich, there is everything for tourism in our country – unique attractions, airports, transport, hotels, innate hospitality. But without investment, these components cannot develop the sphere, as the modern life requires. In what areas will the ministry’s investment policy be emphasized?
     – Taking into consideration that the tourism industry is connected to many sectors, even small improvements targeted at increasing the sustainability of tourism will have a positive impact on the country’s economy. Investment and financing play an important role in the development of the sector. For today, investment projects carried out in the field of tourism are mainly aimed at the development of tourist infrastructure, in particular, at increasing the number of accommodation facilities, as well as at diversifying the types of services provided to tourists.
     In 2022, 735 investment projects totaling 22.1 trillion soums were implemented, 22,924 new job places were created. So, in the city of Samarkand, it was opened the Silk Road Tourist Center complex, the total cost of which is $ 500.0 million (a part of which: foreign investments – $ 260.0 million), six 4-star hotel complexes (Savitsky Plaza, Stars of Ulughbek by Lia Minyoun, Marakanda Park Hotel Alisher Navoiy, Marakanda Park Hotel Sogd, Marakanda Park Hotel Navruz, Marakanda Park Hotel Bekhzod) and two 5-star (Samarkand Regency Amir Temur, Silk Road Hotel by Minyoun), as well as the tourist center «Eternal City».
     – Another equally important factor in the development of tourism are tourism clusters, i.e., when the main «players» of the market do not compete with each other, but unite, share their experience with each other for the purpose of a common goal… Do the companies of the sphere recognize this fact?
     – For the current day, tourism clusters play a special role in improving the quality of services provided in the field of tourism and the active promotion of national tourism products in the world markets. Due to the organization of tourist clusters, it is possible to achieve, first of all, an increase and development of various types of tourism: pilgrimage, environmental, sports, gastronomic, medical, educational, academic, ethno-tourism and MICE-tourism; further expansion of foreign and domestic tourism, develop new directions and introduce them to the tourism markets. There will also be an opportunity to achieve the socio-economic development of the local population, in particular through the exchange of experience to achieve a common goal by uniting with local and foreign entrepreneurs on the territory of the tourism cluster, creating effective competition.
     As an example of a tourist cluster that meets these requirements, we can cite the new international tourist center «The Great Silk Road» in Samarkand. Hotels on the territory of the complex that meet international standards, a congress hall specializing in MICE tourism and the organization of high-level events, the Eternal City complex, which presents tourists with the culture and traditions of our country, and the center itself, which includes several types of services, significantly increase the tourist attractiveness of Samarkand region.
     Apart from that, the Bukhara Desert Oasis & Spa tourist cluster in the Bukhara region is a new tourist facility that combines several tourism destinations. Visitors to this resort can take advantage of such services as extreme tourism (quad biking), safari tourism, camel riding in the desert, taste national and foreign dishes prepared by qualified chefs, relax in comfortable accommodation with all amenities.
     – What innovations have occurred recently in the licensing of business entities in the tourism sector? Which demands have become more liberalized?
     – For the present day, a system of online submission of applications by business entities for obtaining a certificate of conformity of hotels of any category has been established. At the same time, the state standards of the classification system of hotels and similar accommodation facilities were revised. At the same time, the experience of the United Arab Emirates, (the Hotelstars Union), the Russian Federation, Belarus was studied and, on the basis of the established requirements, the state standard was harmonized with international requirements.
     It is important that in the case of concluding a franchise agreement with hotels included in the top 50 or top 5 of the Brand Finance rating, in this project of the state standard it is allowed to apply the requirements for floor space of bathrooms of the hotel of this brand.
     Moreover, according to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan «On approval of a single regulation on the procedure for licensing certain types of activities through a special electronic system», applications for issuing licenses for tour operator and travel agency activities can be sent electronically 24 hours a day, regardless of weekends and holidays. Previously, applications were considered within 10 working days, but from March 1, 2022, they are considered within 5 days.
     At the same time, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is developing a draft of a normative legal document that provides for the abolition of the requirement to issue a license to carry out travel agency activities and the transition to a notification procedure in order to provide benefits to business entities.
     – Has the experience of establishing the world’s most glorious sanatorium-resort cities in the territory of our republic been established? Such as, Karlovy Vary, Maryan Lazne (Czech Republic), the Naftalan city (Azerbaijan).
You can read the whole interview in the printed version of the magazine.


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