On January 28, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev convened a meeting to discuss the development of tourism and the further popularization of physical culture and sports.
Today, the global tourism market nears 9 trillion US dollars. One in ten employed people in the world works in this area.
According to studies, tourists prefer to visit countries within 5 hours of flight. About 60 nations with 3 billion people are located within this radius around Uzbekistan. Of these, nearly 360 million people travel annually. This is a tremendous tourism market.
6.7 million tourists visited our nation last year. A dozen eminent foreign media outlets named Uzbekistan as one of the most attractive travel destinations.
In his recent Address to the Oliy Majlis, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed that turning tourism into a strategic sector of the economy is a priority.
It is planned to ensure the growth of traveler inflow from abroad to 7.5 million this year, to 10 million in 2022 and to 12 million in 2025. In that case, the export of tourism services shall be secured at 1.5 billion dollars this year and 3 billion dollars over the next five years.
Thanks to the consistent implementation of the tasks outlined in the Presidential Decree “On Measures to Ensure the Accelerated Development of Inbound Tourism” signed 7 February 2018, and owing to the growing well-being of the population, domestic travel industry also has been on the rise. Nonetheless, there is an acute shortage of hotels complying with international standards and qualified guides.
The President suggested thus that the number of hotels be increased by 1.7 thousand this year and by 3 thousand over the next 5 years. It is essential to bring the number of family guest houses to 2 thousand.
This requires the creation of at least 30 thousand new jobs in the tourism sector a year.
At the meeting packed with criticism from the head of state, strict measures were discussed to be taken to achieve mentioned indicators.
Along with the enhancement of traditional types of tourism, the need for the development of its new directions was noted.
Instructions were given on the development of healthcare tourism in such areas of medicine where our country has high potential as cardiology, urology, dentistry, ophthalmology. Shavkat Mirziyoyev insisted that strategic investors to health resorts in Uzbekistan be brought in. The possibilities of establishing close cooperation with trade unions of CIS nations and securing sharp increase in the number of tourists were indicated.
The State Committee for Tourism Development and the Ministry of Culture have been instructed to raise the number of facilities included in travel routes up to 800 in the current year and 2.5 thousand by 2025.
The importance of implementing investment projects for the development of winter tourism in 2020-2025 was emphasized.
Poor quality of services in our airplanes and trains, as well as expensive tickets have been causing justified complaints from customers. As a result, many have been opting out for foreign air and railway companies. The President said that domestic rail and air routes are barely able to withstand competition.
The Ministry of Transport and the State Committee for Tourism Development have been tasked with effectively using the “open skies” mode introduced at 4 airports in the country, opening new flights, increasing the number of high-speed trains, and lowering ticket prices.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev also expounded on issues pertaining to the development of roadside tourist infrastructure, to the implementation of projects “Tourism Village”, “Tourism Aul” and “Tourism Mahalla”.
Last year, 6 motion pictures worth $ 1.6 million were shot in our country by foreign film companies. As it was noted at the meeting, the establishment of a system of partial reimbursement of the filming costs of foreign companies will afford a great impetus to the development of cultural tourism and promote our country in the international arena.
The President urged Uzbekkino National Agency to spur up cooperation with movie companies abroad and introduce mechanisms for arranging the filming works in our country.
During the consideration of the issue of training personnel for the tourism sector, the meeting participants noted that a range of issues are still pending solution with regard to the establishment of a training system of specialists in the sphere at 20 universities, as well as in 3 technical schools and 9 colleges under the State Committee for Tourism Development. The tasks of introducing best practices in the learning process were identified.
Also discussed at the meeting were issues of physical education and sports.
The Presidential Decree “On Measures to Further Improve and Popularize Physical Culture and Sports in the Republic of Uzbekistan” adopted on January 24 this year has become a solid basis for triggering the development in this sphere.
The document defines measures to deliver a system for the formation of a high-quality sports reserve by specializing districts and towns in at least 3 types of sports.
This year the task was set to build 269 soccer pitches, volleyball, basketball and badminton courts, 178 halls for boxing, kurash, fitness and gymnastics, 32 tennis courts, and specific funding sources were identified.
The meeting participants addressed issues related to the implementation of this decree.
The Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports was instructed to identify those who wish to build and, together with the Ministry of Construction, to prepare standard construction projects of sports facilities using inexpensive and energy-saving materials.
The need was noted for bringing the total number of people regularly engaged in physical education and sports to 18 percent this year, up to 30 percent by 2025, while engaging at least 30 percent of children and youth aged 7 to 30 in mass sports.
The head of our state underlined the magnitude of developing sports tourism through the organization of world and continental championships and other prestigious sports competitions in the country.
The importance was emphasized of the further development of national sports, including kurash, and its inclusion in the program of the Olympic Games.
Special attention was paid at the meeting to the preparation of athletes for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.
Information of responsible officials was heard on the issues considered.