Order of the President of Uzbekistan: A new impetus to be given to development of tourism

Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- The number of visits by foreign citizens to Uzbekistan for the first 9 months of 2018 increased to 3.9 million visitors, compared to 1.9 million people in the same period of 2017. However, the results can and should be better. Such a conclusion can be made on the fact that on November 2, 2018, the order of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev “On the creation of a group to study the issues of accelerated development of the tourism industry”, which has already identified ways of further development of the industry. The Deputy Prime Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov told in more detail about this in an interview.

- Aziz Abdukhakimov, what is the future development of tourism today?

- First of all, it is planned to continue everything started over the last year. Moreover, the President of our country, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, identified four areas that will have to be given more attention.

First, it is necessary to accelerate the construction of modern and branded hotels, budget accommodation facilities such as hostels, family guest houses, as well as the introduction of mechanisms for renting apartments through the AirB&B system.

Secondly, it is necessary to develop a single, safe and innovative transport logistics to increase and diversify tourist flows, taking into account internal and external complementary modes of transport.

Uzbekistan will also increase efficiency of activities of cultural heritage subjects, museums, theaters, art galleries, by creating an effective system of information and reference support for tourists, the introduction of smart tourism technologies, the installation of a system of turnstiles and video surveillance.

Fourthly, it is necessary to increase “monetization” of tourism, primarily through building flexible pricing policies for air travel, accommodation services, catering for tourists, cultural and entertainment events and manufactured souvenirs.

- What will be done in the first place to complete the assigned tasks?

- A Republican group and three working subgroups has already been established to study the issues of accelerated development of the tourism sector. During November, specialists from the responsible ministries and departments, in cooperation with experts and representatives of the tourism sector, will have to conduct a thorough study of the situation and develop draft regulatory documents, which will reflect specific proposals for the accelerated development of tourism and the resolution of issues that hamper it. At the same time, we once again urge the representatives of the tourism sector, and all those who are not indifferent to the development of tourism in our country to take part in the preparation of a new set of measures for the development of tourism and send their specific and reasonable suggestions and ideas that will be taken into account.

- How is it planned to stimulate investment in the tourism industry. What to do in the process of its development?

- First of all, it is necessary to identify the problematic issues that impede the attraction of investments in tourism and transport infrastructure. In solving this issue, in our opinion, it is very important to approach the study and consideration of the problems of each investor from the filing of the application to the completion of the investment project. It is necessary to form a specific list of investors who had previously applied for the provision of land for investment in the construction of tourist infrastructure. We should have a list of free land plots reserved for the accommodation of tourist infrastructure objects.

It is necessary to develop proposals for promotion of business facilities for the implementation of projects for the construction of tourist infrastructure facilities. The time has come to pay more attention to attracting world-famous brands of hotel chains, including by providing preferences.

- What areas appear to be priorities in the development of transport?

- First of all, this is a solution to problematic issues of the development of transport and roadside infrastructure, roads, land transportation of passengers by rail and road in the country. Development requires a fleet of tourist class buses. There is a shortage of cars designed to serve small groups; it is necessary to expand the fleet of cars designed for trips to hard-to-reach places.

 There are serious intentions regarding air traffic. There are plans to increase the efficiency of using the national air carrier’s fleet, and to attract foreign airlines to further increase the geography of regular and charter flights. To raise the level of service at airports, it is planned to consider options for their separation into a separate structure, transferring them to external management to investors on a competitive basis.

A fundamental revision of the state regulation system, the improvement of the institutional foundations of the passenger air transport market with the division of functions into a state regulator, an air carrier and an airport management operator are pending. In addition, we will consider the issue of attracting international financial institutions to co-finance programs for the dynamic development of aviation, railway and automobile infrastructure, as well as the necessary communications.

- Tell us more about what needs to be done in the field of improving the content of the tours in Uzbekistan?

- It is planned to identify problems that impede the development of the service system at cultural facilities. Proposals will be developed to ensure financial profitability and improve their material and technical base.

It is time to automate and introduce electronic forms of ticket sales and control passes to cultural facilities, as well as the monetization of their services.

It is planned to identify effective mechanisms, aimed at the rational and effective use of cultural objects and instilling in the population a careful attitude towards them.

Particular attention is paid to the range of souvenirs, the state of points of sale, problems of production and delivery. It is necessary to organize the production of new types of souvenir products demanded by tourists.

In this case, the priority for us will be the support of handicraft. In this regard, it is planned not only to preserve and develop existing directions of handicraft, but also to begin the restoration of the disappeared or endangered types of handicraft. For this, artisan schools will be opened, master class points for tourists will be created.

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