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My Uzbekistan

Tourism

Today, traveling to Uzbekistan is one of the most popular ways to broaden your horizons, see beautiful old cities and get closer to the mysterious and adventurous East and its fascinating culture. Traveling in Uzbekistan is affordable, risk-free, and covers various activities and opportunities, including recreational, ecological, pilgrimage, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) tourism. Uzbekistan, which is strategically located in the heart of the world-famous Great Silk Road, invites visitors to its cities of Samarkand, Khiva, Bukhara, and other historical sites.

Uzbekistan has 8,200 cultural heritage sites, of which 209 are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in four city museums – Ichan Qala in Khiva and the historic centers of Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, and Samarkand. On the territory of the country, there are 8 reserves, 2 natural and 1 national park, 6 natural monuments, 11 game reserves, more than 50 water protection zones, about 350 cultural and entertaining objects (museums, theaters, parks of culture and leisure) and many other objects of tourism. All this should be seen by tourists from different countries, visiting Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is in the process of implementing a long-term strategy for the development of the tourism industry, the ultimate goal of which is to turn the country into an attractive center of world tourism, including it in the most preferred tourist destinations on the world map. The development strategy of New Uzbekistan (2022-2026) leads to the goal – to become one of the top 30 countries most visited by tourists.

One of the main objectives of the government is to increase the share of tourism in the country’s gross domestic product to 5% and to increase the number of tourists coming to the country to 12 million. Uzbekistan is fully open for foreign travel, from any country in the world. Already now the citizens of 90 countries of the world have a visa-free regime for entry into Uzbekistan and all restrictions on travel have been lifted.

According to the preliminary data of the Statistical Agency under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, there are positive trends of rapid tourism growth:

The sphere of tourism is given strategic importance in the national economy. Over the past 3 years, about 60 laws and regulations have been developed and adopted to improve the institutional framework, develop infrastructure in the field of tourism, and create an enabling environment for travel. This has contributed to a sharp increase in the flow of foreign tourists.

By the end of 2022, we could display that the largest users of accommodation facilities are Russians, whose inflow increased 2.1 times compared to the same period last year (2021 – 190.5 thousand). For the first nine months of 2022, more than 395 thousand citizens of Russia arrived in Uzbekistan, 80.5% of whom passed registration with internal affairs bodies. More than half of the arrivals came in the last three months.

Also noted is the need to continue work on the inclusion of objects of historical and cultural heritage in tourist routes. Out of 8.2 thousand objects of cultural heritage, only 500 are included in the tourist routes. It is planned to increase this figure to 800.

Since the beginning of 2021, there is active work to improve the national airline “Uzbekistan Airways” and Uzbekistan Airports. The plans for the next five years are to turn Uzbekistan Airways “into the largest, strongest, most developed airline, with the largest number of planes, flights, and passenger traffic in the region. The updated business strategy of the company assumes a hybrid service model, according to which part of the flights will be operated on the principle of the full-service carrier, and part – on the principle of the low-cost carrier.

HumoAir, a “people’s carrier” of domestic flights at “considerably cheap fares”, is already providing services in the Uzbek market. In the future, the company plans to enter the market of Central Asia. Also, Uzbekistan Airports is in the process of creating a regional subsidiary of Silk Avia, which organizes domestic flights not only on the principle of point-to-hub (from the capital to the regions), but also on the model of point-to-point (between regions). It plans to develop up to 40 routes and purchase regional planes with a passenger capacity of up to 70 people, with fares comparable to those of railways.

Tourist operators and hotel businesses in Uzbekistan

In 2022, the volume of allocated funds from the state budget for the development of the industry amounted to 1 trillion soums ($100 million). During the 9 months of 2021, 105 new hotels and 1,001 family guest houses were launched. As a result, the number of hotels in the country reached 1,361, the number of rooms 31388, and family guest houses 2,365.

By 2023, it is planned to re-launch 636 accommodation facilities, and 80 tourist organizations and allocate 29.4 billion soums for developing tourist services, 117.3 billion soums for improving cultural heritage sites, 43 billion soums to support museums, and 73.1 billion soums for tourism educational institutions.

Continued growth in the flow of tourists, as well as the duration of their stay (the number of days of stay in accommodation facilities), will also contribute to the growth in the number of accommodation facilities and, accordingly, the number of rooms. In particular, by 2025 the number of accommodation facilities is projected to increase by 2.5 times.

3,782 registered facilities in Uzbekistan have received a certificate of tourist services. There are also 1,841 tour operators operating in the country, and 66 recreation areas receiving guests.

At the same time, international hotel brands are gradually entering Uzbekistan not only in Tashkent but also in Samarkand and Bukhara, which are the country’s most important business and cultural centers, attracting tourists and businessmen from different countries of the world. Hilton Worldwide is a leader in the number of hotels and the number of rooms in Tashkent. Two hotels operate under this brand, Hilton Tashkent City and Hampton by Hilton. Wyndham Worldwide is in second place by the number of hotels and the number of rooms. Two hotels, Wyndham Tashkent and Ramada by Wyndham Tashkent are operating under this brand. By 2023 three more major brands, such as Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, and Curio Collection by Hilt, are planning to enter Uzbekistan’s hotel market. It is important to note that there are five-star and three-star segments among these hotels.

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