Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
The Republic of Uzbekistan is full of wonders and intellectuals. It has been hub of tourism, natural beauty, human wisdom and above all cross-culture. It has new become a rich country for tourists. It has unique location at the crossroads of the Silk Road which always connects people, minds, projects and civilizations.
Tourism: A Global Force
Tourism is a global force for economic and regional development. Tourism development brings with it a mix of benefits and costs and the growing field of tourism economics is making an important contribution to tourism policy, planning and business practices. Tourism industry of Uzbekistan is also a developed and service oriented which always welcomes unlimited people with in and around the global to feel at home.
Tourism: A New Strategic Asset
Economics of tourism is a hot topic in the international trade and marketing. Many comprehensive research studies are being carried out to correlate direct, indirect, national, regional and the last but not the least, international multiplier effects of “tourism” around the globe. It has now been verified that tourism is a strategic asset to national economies. Greece, Malta, Turkey, France, Australia and UAE are the prime examples of this important actor of economic development. Uzbekistan is the emerging country and ideal hub for the regional as well as international tourists.
Substantial Economic Benefits
Tourism has grown substantially over recent decades as an economic and social power house. It generates substantial economic benefits to both host countries and tourists’ home countries. Especially in developing countries, one of the primary motivations for a region to promote itself as a tourism destination is the expected economic improvement. Government of Uzbekistan is taking all possible measures to make it more and more friendly, attractive and comfortable to showcase, it past, present and future.
Tourism’s Contribution in GDPs
The service economy especially tourism is driving growth in most the countries. It represents a large part of economic activity and its importance continues to grow. In terms of revenue many countries generate about 70 percent of world tourism activity. Tourism, which has expanded dramatically over the past 30 years, looks set to continue growing as societies become more mobile and prosperous. Among the CIS, Uzbekistan’s service industry is the best which has great contribution to develop a productive, interactive, knowledge based and healthy tourism industry where human values are always preferred on corporate profits.
A Major Global Industry
Tourism is a major industry globally and a major sector in many economies. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and diversification to become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimate that tourism contributed 9.2 per cent of global GDP and forecasts that this will continue to grow to grow at over 4 per cent per annum during the next ten years to account for some 9.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (WTTC 2010). Over time, an increasing number of destinations have opened up and invested in tourism development, turning modern tourism into a key driver for socioeconomic progress. Tourism industry of Uzbekistan is also contributing its part in the overall macro-economy and it is booming.
Development of Global Tourism Industry
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that international tourism arrivals will grow by 3.3 percent per year between 2010 and 2030 and reach 1.8 billion total arrivals by 2030. Growth in emerging countries is expected to be twice as fast as in advanced ones. Tourism’s market share in emerging countries is predicted to rise to 57 percent by 2030, compared to 47 percent in 2012. Uzbekistan’s tourism has bright future and it is moving forward by each passing day. It is competitive. It is friendly. It is humanistic. It is comfortable and confident to excel. It is hospitalized and full of hope to promote the basic core culture of ancient Uzbekistan to all the visiting tourists.
Tourism is an important factor in the dynamic development of Uzbekistan’s national economy. It has diversified geography. It has more than 7,000 monuments of different epochs. It has hub of so many rich and ancient civilizations, many of which are included in UNESCO World Heritage List.
Blessed with Natural Beauty
Uzbekistan is blessed with beautiful Samarkand, the jewel of CIS and the capital of the great state of Amir Temur focused a lot of attractions, which are famous today around the world. It has rich history, culture and traditions too. Its people are decent, lovely and courageous. They respect humanity, knowledge, wisdom, beauty and the last but not the least, cross culture and civilizations.
It is blessed with architectural ensemble Registan and Ulugbek observatory. It has a famous mausoleum of Amir Temur and Bibi Khanum Mosque has become city’s decoration. Its mausoleum was built by the order of Amir Temur, who is considered one of the finest examples of medieval architecture of the East.
Uzbekistan is also blessed with holy city of Bukhara. It is spiritual hub and center of peace, love and caring to all people. It has also historical monuments and places of worship. It is very famous and one of the hot destinations of devouted tourists visiting from South East Asia, Far East, CIS, MENA, and Africa. It has so many majestic minarets, mosques and madrassas, bazaars and shopping domes, havuz-pools and areas are witnessing 2500 year history of Bukhara. It is a city of life, joy, color, and brotherhood. It is the city which connects past with future.
(c)Khiva, Shakhrisabz and Termez
Uzbekistan has also very famous cities like Khiva, Shakhrisabz and Termez. All these cities have ancient cities, cultures, civilizations and unique traditions. These have unique architectural masterpieces and have roused the admiration of ancestors and contemporaries.
Formation of National Company “Uzbektourism”
Since Uzbekistan is blessed with ancient civilization, culture and traditions along with natural beauty and friendly people and the last but not the least, tourism friendly policies, it has transformed radically new principles of state policy in the sphere of tourism. The government of Uzbekistan has already initiated diversified but integrated plans, policies, programs and projects for the promotion of its rich tourism. H.E. President Islam Karimov through the resolution of National Company created National Company “Uzbektourism” on July 27, 1992. It was empowered to implement state policy of tourism.
Moreover, the Law “On Tourism” was adopted in 1999. It was multidimensional legal regulation which regularized all the development related to Uzbekistan’s tourism. It protected the rights and legitimate interests of travelers and associated concerns of this sector. Keeping in view, its strategic importance and optimal utility more than 30 laws/decrees were adopted on the basis of this document.
National Tourism Development Program
Furthermore, Uzbekistan has accepted and executed sequentially target state and regional programs of development of the tourism industry in the country. During 1999-2005 the state program of development of tourism in Uzbekistan was implemented. In recent years regional programs to support leisure industry in Tashkent, Kashkadarya, Khorezm and other regions were implemented successfully.
Visionary Leadership of H.E. President Islam Karimov
Due to visionary leadership of H.E. President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has been transformed into a knowledge based economy which has high soft image among the visiting tourists. It has now developed a modern tourist infrastructure throughout the country. It is now, the hub of international healthy tourism.
Advanced Hotel Industry
For the development of tourism industry in Uzbekistan many new luxury 5 Stars hotels have been built, including nation-wide network of type B&B, which can provide high level of service for foreign guests. Now it has many international brands namely Radisson, Lotte, Ramada, and Wyndham, in the capital and regions of Uzbekistan which created a network of private institutions for small groups and family tourists.
Productive Civil Aviation Industry
Civil aviation industry plays very important contributory and supporting role in the development of national tourism. Uzbekistan has advanced civil aviation industry in the country due to which airports in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench, Navoi and Fergana have been modernized. Now it has 11 international air harbors. National air carrier “Uzbekistan Airways” has the most modern airliners, Boeing and Airbus, which carry out regular flights to over 50 cities of Europe, Asia, Middle East and North America. During 2015 National Airlines expects replenishment in its fleet with two new-generation airliners Boeing-787 Dreamliner, which will be an important step in raising the level of quality of travel services provided by our country.
A modern system of railways is also important to attract more and more tourists. In Uzbekistan tourists have the opportunity to get to attractions and means of rail transport. In 2011 between Tashkent and Samarkand started to run high-speed train Afrosiyob produced by Spanish company PATENTES TALGO S.L. In 2015 Afrosiyob started going to Karshi administrative center of Kashkadarya region. Convenience and comfort of this train is noted both by foreign guests and local passengers.
Uzbekistan’s tourism has developed entity due to which has created favorable conditions for businesses involved in the provision of tourism services. According to 2015 data, there are 1279 tourist organizations in the country, in particular, 548 hotels, hostels and campgrounds, 731 travel companies.
Introduction of Eco-tourism, Geo-tourism, Extreme, Health and Cultural Concepts
Uzbekistan is so rich in its tourism that it has introduced many innovative and modern concepts mainly ecotourism, geo-tourism, extreme, health and cultural areas, as well as mountain climbing, rafting and fishing for the international tourists. It categorized its tourism into regions i.e. in areas with few historic monuments develop ecotourism, geo-tourism, traveling off-road, in mountainous areas extreme tours. It has also implemented a project on restoration of objects of cultural heritage, construction and reconstruction of tourist facilities, the development of new routes of ancient monuments and picturesque places.
Uzbek Warm Hospitality
Its diversified but integrated reforms have increased number of travelers in the country. They delight not only the natural beauty of its different our regions, rich history, diverse culture and beautiful historical monuments, but also centuries-old traditions of Uzbek people, its warm hospitality, and of course, delicious cuisine/traditional foods.
Domestic Tourism Industry
Now, its domestic tourism is also developing increasingly due to the growth of incomes of population of Uzbekistan and improvement of infrastructure of leisure industry. Every year millions of its citizens travel around the country, where convenient transport facilities, comfortable hotels and high level of service are created.
In order to further increase the tourist flow, Uzbekistan is actively developing cooperation with many countries of the world. In this context, intergovernmental and interagency agreements with a number of foreign countries have been signed. Cooperation with specialized international organizations in the field of tourism is no less important.
Active Member of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
In particular, since 1993, Uzbekistan is a member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which unites more than 150 countries. Since 2004, Regional Centre of UNWTO on Silk Road is located in Samarkand, which coordinates support for tourism on this transcontinental highway. While acknowledging the merits of our country in the sphere of development of the industry, Member States of this Organization has repeatedly elected the Republic of Uzbekistan to the governing body Executive Council, 99th Session of which took place in 2014 in Samarkand. Holding this forum on Uzbek land became further evidence of international community’s recognition of effectiveness of comprehensive measures for development of tourism industry.
Showcasing of its Rich Culture
The government of Uzbekistan projects its rich culture and ancient civilization in all the major events, which bring together representatives of the tourism industry from around the world to discuss the main trends of the industry dynamics and business linkages. Since 1995, in the fall Uzbekistan annually holds Tashkent International Tourism Fair (TITF). This forum is a good platform for a constructive dialogue of partners operating in this sphere. In the past year the twenty-first fair took place, within which a presentation of tourism opportunities of Uzbekistan was held.
Innovative Concept “Hosted Buyers”
Uzbekistan’s government has also started the project “Hosted Buyers” which was the main innovation at TITF 2015. Hosted Buyers is a specialized program of business meetings, for which special privileged buyer is pre-invited with a specific purpose that is to meet with interested partners and arrange for the sale of products, goods and services or implementation of a special joint program or project.
International Exhibition “World of Rest”
Uzbekistan every year holds International Exhibition “World of Rest” since 2013. It opens the spring and summer tourist season in Uzbekistan. The event has represented the brightness and originality of regions’ culture, their tourism potential. It provides an opportunity for domestic and foreign tour operators to promote its products and services in the beginning of new season, to conclude contracts with large clients.
The government of Uzbekistan for the further strengthening of its tourism industry, showcasing its rich culture and above all enhancing soft image of the country an international scientific practical conference of the World Tourism Organization on the theme “Gastronomic tourism as a factor of competitive product” was held within the framework of the exhibition “World of Rest-2015. During the forum participants discussed development of this type of tourism in Uzbekistan, further expansion of international cooperation in this regard.
Uzbekistan has great potential of rich, healthy, productive and interactive tourism to showcase to all the visiting and interested tourists. It has leading position in eco-tourism and geo-tourism in the world.
The government of Uzbekistan has initiated many meaningful initiatives to develop its tourism industry. It has already introduced many effective legal measures in shapes of laws and decrees to protect the basic rights of the tourism industry as well as visiting tourists. The ideal combination of visionary leadership of H.E. President Islam Karimov and God’s gifted natural beauty of Uzbekistan has many things to offer to the entire world. It is full of surprises and wonders. It is full of life, color and joy. It is full of ancient civilizations, heritages, cultures and traditions. It is indeed the land of natural wonders.
Successes achieved in tourism sector are the result of a comprehensive work on the further development of our country industry infrastructure, popularization of opportunities in of the country in this area. It has already stimulated infrastructure development in the country. Now it has so many international brands in the field of hotel industry in different parts of the country. It has increased its foreign exchange earnings. It has accelerated government’s revenues. It has generated so many new jobs. According to many national reports, its contribution in its GDP has already increased. Moreover, it has tremendously enhanced its soft image in the international market as, friendly, responsible and emerging economy.