The 21st Tashkent International Tourism Fair entitled “Tourism on the Silk Road” opened 5 October at the capital’s Uzexpocenter complex.
The opening ceremony of the event organized by the Uzbektourism National Company and the advertising agency “The Great Silk Road” with support from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was attended by representatives of Uzbek and foreign travel agencies and companies, hotels, specialists of the sphere and representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in our country.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of Uzbektourism Farrukh Rizaev, Executive Director of the UNWTO Zoltan Somogyi and others stressed that the tourism sector has been advancing steadily in Uzbekistan under the leadership of President Islam Karimov and that everything necessary is created for an exciting and meaningful leisure of travelers.
Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures to further support and develop tourism in the Republic of Uzbekistan”, signed 10 October 2012, serves as an important guide for action in the promotion of the travel industry and tourism infrastructure as well as the active encouragement of national tour services in the international markets.
In terms of the number of historical monuments Uzbekistan is included in the list of top ten nations. Our ancient cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent, Khiva and Shahrisabz are famed throughout the world. The rich cultural and spiritual heritage and the beautiful nature of our country create an opportunity to stimulate modern forms of travel such as ecotourism, geotourism, climbing, extreme and cultural tourism, fishing, white-water rafting.
As a result of the expansion of tourist routes, improvement of transport and communications and the sphere of services, the flow of tourists to our country has been increasing. In 2014, the volume of tour services in Uzbekistan amounted to 116 percent vis-à-vis the year 2013, while the export of such services reached 120 percent. In January-June this year, the number of arrivals to our country by tourists from abroad grew by 7 percent compared with the same period last year.
Uzbekistan Airways national company has attained a well-deserved niche in the international tourist market. The aircraft fleet and airports have been modernized, while the geography of flights has expanded – an important factor in attracting potential tourists to our country. Running from the capital Tashkent to Samarkand and Karshi, the state-of-the-art high-speed Afrosiyob train creates convenience and comfort of tourists.
1,279 tourism entities and facilities, including 548 hotels, tourist camps and campgrounds, 731 travel companies operate currently in Uzbekistan.
Great many projects are implemented in our country in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization. Uzbekistan joined the institution in 1993. The UNWTO Silk Road Samarkand Regional Center has been functioning in the ancient city since 2004. International tourism fairs, conferences and seminars are held jointly with the Organization. Last October, Samarkand played host to the 99th Session of the Executive Council of the UN World Tourism Organization, which proved an essential stride toward bolstering the travel industry.
Held since 1995, the Tashkent International Tourism Fair has been making a great contribution to the development of this sphere in Uzbekistan. It helps to inform the world community about our country’s immense potential in the field, enhance and consolidate cooperation with travel companies of foreign nations.
This year’s fair is attended by representatives of more than 700 firms and companies from Uzbekistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Latvia, Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Vietnam Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Israel, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and other countries.
“Uzbekistan has created extensive opportunities for doing business, including interaction in the travel industry,” Suchin Jienjitlert, Secretary General of the Thai Hotels Association, has suggested. “There are many in Thailand who wish to visit Uzbekistan. During this fair, we intend to get familiar with this country’s capacities in the sphere of tourism, establish cooperation with local firms and companies.”
Organized within the framework of the exhibition, Hosted Buyers program offers an opportunity for executives and managers of foreign companies to get to know the tour destinations in our country, and establish contacts and conclude mutually beneficial agreements.
The program of the fair included an international conference entitled “Preserving cultural heritage as a contribution to the development of tourism in Uzbekistan” organized by the Uzbektourism National Company in cooperation with UNWTO. It was noted during the forum that special significance is attached in our country to the perpetuation and study of the rich cultural legacy and that it is critical in the promotion of tourism.
Nodira Manzurova, photo by Otabek Mirsagatov, UzA