From Khanabad to Muinak : a memorable trip to Uzbekistan
The tourism sector today is one of the largest and most powerful sectors of the global economy. In many countries, this area plays a significant role in the formation of gross domestic product, job creation and more. It has an impact on the development of the state in the economic, cultural and humanitarian fields. Uzbekistan also pays great attention to the tourism industry. This is aimed at developing and improving normative legal acts regulating the sphere and aimed at its sustainable development.
Over the years of independence, our country has achieved considerable success in this direction, increasing the attention of foreign guests to the historical sites of ancient cities. However, this is already becoming insufficient to qualify for the title of a state with a developed tourism infrastructure. Thus, in order to increase the effectiveness of ongoing reforms in the field of tourism and dramatically increase the number of citizens of foreign countries entering the republic by improving the quality of services provided, as well as promoting a national tourism product on world markets, the head of state signed a decree on measures to further develop the tourism sector in the Republic Uzbekistan. " Deputy Prime Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov spoke at length about the planned activities during the implementation of the document and the road map adopted with him at a specially organized press conference on this occasion.
Our country has a number of documents aimed at the comprehensive development of tourist potential of Uzbekistan. As a result of measures taken for the first half of 2019, the republic was visited by more than three million foreign tourists, in the foreseeable future the goal is to reach the mark of ten million.
The indicator becomes achievable if immediate actions are taken to modernize the industry, develop the infrastructure of popular tourist facilities in our country, and promote the brand of Uzbekistan in the world market. So, according to the adopted Decree, the introduction of a number of innovations is planned. In particular, starting from October 1, according to international legal standards, the Open Skies mode is introduced at the airports of Karshi, Nukus and Termez using the fifth freedom of air (the right to receive and unload passengers, mail and cargo coming to or from a third state). This is a very serious decision will increase the number of flights to these cities, and at the same time the number of tourists. Bukhara airport also opens with the "Open Skies" mode for foreign citizens.
Starting January 1, 2020, a stimulating measure is introduced - subsidizing the costs of tourism entities and air carriers for organizing charter flights from other countries. In the holiday season, for each foreign guest brought, subject to the duration of his stay in Uzbekistan at least five nights, $ 20 will be paid. In the winter season - from November 20 to February 20 - the amount of compensation will be $ 50. This practice is effectively used today by a number of foreign countries. The organization of a large number of charter flights to the country will give a big breakthrough for the development of tourism. According to A. Abdukhakimov, the President of the country instructed to increase the flow of visitors to Uzbekistan to ten million people. Last year, 5.4 million tourists visited our country, more than six are expected this year.
The decree plans to carry out measures to promote the status of Uzbekistan as a tourist country. In particular, the decision is aimed at covering part of the costs of foreign companies when creating audiovisual products in our territory. Compensation will be paid at the expense of the State budget in the amount of up to 20 percent of the costs, but not more than 300 thousand dollars per unit of output.
As Aziz Abduhakimov noted, Uzbekistan has huge potential for the implementation of such projects. After all, the more films about our country will be made, the more foreign citizens will want to visit it. Negotiations with large foreign film companies have already begun. In addition, it is planned to allocate grants for filming short and full-length artistic, as well as documentary-chronicles films on historical and outstanding personalities of Uzbekistan in the amount of 30 percent of the project cost, but not more than three billion soums, using funds from the off-budget Tourism Support Fund under the State Committee for Tourism.
The decree provides for the creation of a tourist transport corridor. It is planned that the highway will stretch from the city of Khanabad (Andijan region) to Muinak (Karakalpakstan) with a branch to Termez (Surkhandarya region). The project provides for the development of European-level roadside infrastructure and the organization of tourist services along highways. For its implementation, a working group will be created that will travel to Khanabad and travel by bus to Muynak to familiarize with the current conditions and determine the areas where it will be necessary to carry out major repairs. Specialists are given the right to assist entrepreneurs in undergoing licensing procedures for organizing activities related to the development of roadside infrastructure, including the allocation of land, obtaining building permits, the construction of sanitary facilities and so on. The next two years are allotted for the implementation of the project. According to A. Abdukhakimov, the creation of infrastructure and a tourist highway contributes to the development of a culture of traveling around the country both among the local population and foreigners.
One of the most interesting ideas is the creation of the so-called tourist mahallas, villages and auls. Starting November 1, according to the Decree of the State Committee for Tourism, it will begin to compile a list of gatherings of citizens with the greatest tourist potential. In order to gain such a status as a mahalla, kishlak or aul, it is necessary to organize at least 20 guest houses on its territory, as well as to consider at least five types of tourist services for guests. After receiving the appropriate status from the state, assistance will be provided in improving the infrastructure, repairing roads and advertising. Such an initiative, as A. Abdukhakimov noted, will stimulate the population to independently create tourist centers.
The document also provides for the introduction of a visa-free regime for a period of 30 days for citizens of another 20 states, mainly from Central America. Why exactly these countries? Firstly, as the Deputy Prime Minister explained, in this region, in particular, the Mexican United States is actively developing outbound tourism, the level of GDP per capita is also high there. Thus, after the adoption of this decision, Uzbekistan becomes the second liberalized country in the visa regime in the CIS after Georgia. From now on, a visa-free regime applies to citizens of 65 countries.
In addition, from January 1, 2020, on the territory of cultural heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and historical or cultural monuments protected by the state, souvenirs of exclusively domestic production will be sold. This step will support local artisans. Along with this, a roadmap has been developed, including 65 events aimed at promoting tourism in the country. As part of its implementation, an international aviation forum is scheduled for next year, to which leading foreign tour operators and airlines will be invited. Measures have been outlined for the development of youth tourism, in particular, visits to Uzbekistan by foreign boys and girls as part of various educational programs. Significantly, the level of provision of tourist infrastructure facilities with the Internet will be increased. It is planned to introduce changes in the certification requirements for hotels. For the first time in all major cities of the country, tourist streets, shops, special zones for free artists, artists, artisans will be systematically formed. According to A. Abdukhakimov, this will make the places attractive for tourists, and a separate unit will appear in the structure of the State Committee for Tourism, which will involve specialists in the development of tourist quarters.
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