On September 19, under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the videoconferencing was held on the measures to further increase the domestic and inbound tourism potential.
Diversification is the key to an economic stability. Therefore, the large-scale activity is being carried out in Uzbekistan on the structural transformation of the economy. In particular, the tourism industry has been identified as one of the key drivers, as well as the necessary conditions are being created for its development.
For instance, the issuance of visas to tourists was simplified, the queues and unnecessary checks were eliminated at the airports, the green corridors were created, and currency exchange was liberalized. The rates of social tax and turnover tax for tourism enterprises are set at 1%, the rates of land tax and property tax are reduced by 90%. The number of placements increased to 3 times compared to 2017 and reached 125,000. A system of electronic registration of guests is launched.
The tourism is recovering from the pandemic this year. By September this year, the number of foreign tourists who visited Uzbekistan has tripled compared to 2021. Since the beginning of the year, the volume of tourist exports amounted to $926 million. The length of stay of foreign tourists has increased to an average of 4-5 days, and their spending – up to $305.
The number of domestic tourists also increased to 3,5 times compared to last year – and reached 7,5 million people.
The President pays a special attention to this area, because 30% of the industry’s income goes to people in the form of wages. This figure does not exceed 10% in industry or other sectors. One job created in tourism creates two additional jobs in related industries. That is, tourism is an important resource for providing employment, increasing income and exporting services.
The condition of tourism in the regions was considered at the meeting. The enormous opportunities in the tourism sector and tasks for their implementation were indicated.
As it is well-known, on the initiative of the President of the state, the International Tourist Center «The Great Silk Road» was established in Samarkand. Recently, it hosted the Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at a high organizational level. This multifunctional center includes 8 modern hotels, a congress center, the Eternal City complex, an amphitheater and many other facilities. It is capable of serving 2 million tourists a year.
The President gave the instructions on attracting tourists to this complex, promoting the brand «Samarkand – Tourism Gateway of New Uzbekistan» in cooperation with the embassies and foreign companies.
The Ministry of Transport was given a task to effectively use the capabilities of the modernized Samarkand International Airport, remove the restrictions on flights of foreign airlines, and increase the number of international flights.
The measures were defined to increase the volume of tourism services in cities and districts, to allocate 1 trillion Uzbek soums of credit resources for industry projects, at the meeting held on April 26 this year. Analyzing the fulfillment of these tasks, the President pointed out the insufficiency of tourist places in the regions and the financing of entrepreneurs’ projects.
The Khokim (governor) of Fergana Region reported on the activities of the creation of the tourist ring «Golden Valley», covering 5 districts and 3 cities. The President emphasized the need for implementing similar projects in other regions, providing financial and organizational support to their initiators.
The opportunities for creating the tourist zones in safe areas near water bodies and on forest fund lands were also noted. The proposals were put forward for the development of safari tourism in the steppe regions of Karakalpakstan, Bukhara, Kashkadarya, Navoiy, Surkhandarya, Fergana and Khorezm regions.
Another promising direction is pilgrimage tourism. There are more than 1,2 thousand shrines in Uzbekistan. It was noted that by fully using this opportunity, it would be possible to attract at least 1 million tourists a year.
The instructions were given to increase flights from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Arab countries, as well as to train qualified guides, improve conditions and roads in places of pilgrimage.
In Uzbekistan, 135 makhallas (local neighborhood community areas) are defined as the tourist makhallas. The issue of infrastructure is very important since most of them are located in the remote areas.
Therefore, the President instructed to develop a program to solve problems with roads, electricity and water supply, Internet access in tourist makhallas.
The road infrastructure is essential for travel. However, the number of cars increases over time. For example, 25,000 cars passed along the Tashkent – Samarkand route five years ago, and this figure has reached 35,000 today. Accordingly, the travel time has also increased.
In this regard, the need for increasing the frequency of rail and air communication among the cities of the country was noted.
The President focused on the issues of expanding amenities for tourists and simplifying the rules for the activities of industrial entities.
For example, today there are 97 requirements for opening a hotel. Taking into account the opinions of entrepreneurs, the task was set to simplify these requirements based on the international standards.
There are inconveniences in the order of registration of tourists in the internal affairs bodies. In particular, a foreign tourist must be temporarily registered by the hotel within 2 days, and in the case of staying with relatives – within 3 days.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs was instructed to review this system and lift excessive restrictions. An online notification will be used instead of temporary registration of foreign tourists.
It is also set to cancel the requirement for licensing the activities of travel agents with the introduction of a notification procedure. This shall create an opportunity for the emergence of thousands more travel agents.
«Tourism means investment, exports, new jobs and poverty reduction. Therefore, it is necessary to pay a serious attention to this direction in each region and attract more tourists», Shavkat Mirziyoyev has said.
It was noted that there are all opportunities to attract 7 million foreign and 12 million domestic tourists next year, increasing the export of tourism services to $2 billion. The specific areas of work and those who are responsible for their implementation were defined.