On September 19, a videoconference was held under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on measures to further increase the potential of domestic and inbound tourism.
Diversification is the key to economic stability. Therefore, large-scale work is being carried out in our country on the structural transformation of the economy. In particular, the tourism industry has been identified as one of the drivers, and the necessary conditions are being created for its development.
For example, the issuance of visas to tourists was simplified, queues and unnecessary checks at airports were eliminated, green corridors were created, and currency exchange was liberalized. The rates of social tax and turnover tax for tourism enterprises are set at 1 percent, and the rates of land tax and property tax are reduced by 90 percent. The number of placements increased 3 times compared to 2017 and reached 125,000. There was a possibility of electronic registration of guests.
This year, tourism is recovering from the pandemic. By September of this year, the number of foreign tourists who came to our country had tripled compared to 2021. Since the beginning of the year, the volume of tourist exports amounted to 926 million dollars. 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 – 3.5 times compared to last year – and reached 7.5 million people.
It is not for nothing that the President pays special attention to this direction. Because 30 percent of the industry’s income goes to people in the form of wages. In industry or other sectors, this figure does not exceed 10 percent. 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 meeting analyzed the state of tourism in the regions. Huge opportunities for this and tasks for their use are shown.
As is known, on the initiative of the head of our state, the International Tourist Center “The Great Silk Road” was established in Samarkand. Recently, it hosted a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at a high organizational level. This multifunctional centre includes 8 modern hotels, a congress hall, the Eternal City complex, an amphitheatre and many other facilities. It is capable of serving 2 million tourists a year. The Samarkand International Airport was also reconstructed.
The head of state gave instructions on attracting tourists to this complex, promoting the brand “Samarkand – the tourist gate of New Uzbekistan” in cooperation with embassies and foreign companies.
The Ministry of Transport was tasked with effectively using the capabilities of the modernized Samarkand International Airport, removing restrictions on flights of foreign airlines, and increasing the number of international flights.
At a meeting held on April 26 this year, measures were identified to increase the volume of tourism services in cities and regions, and to allocate 1 trillion soums of credit resources for industry projects. Analyzing the fulfilment of these tasks, the head of state pointed out the insufficiency of tourist places in the regions and the financing of entrepreneurs’ projects.
The khokim of the Ferghana region reported on the work on the creation of the tourist ring “Golden Valley”, covering 5 districts and 3 cities. The President emphasized the need to implement similar projects in other regions, to provide financial and organizational support to their initiators.
Opportunities for creating tourist zones in safe areas near water bodies and on forest fund lands were also noted. Proposals have been put forward for the development of safari tourism in the steppe regions of Karakalpakstan, Bukhara, Kashkadarya, Navoi, Surkhandarya, Fergana and Khorezm regions.
Another promising direction is pilgrimage tourism. There are more than 1.2 thousand shrines in our country. At the meeting, it was noted that by fully utilizing this opportunity, it is possible to attract at least 1 million tourists a year.
Instructions were given to increase flights from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Arab countries, train qualified guides, improve conditions and roads in places of pilgrimage.
In our country, 135 mahallas are defined as tourist mahallas. Since most of them are located in remote areas, the issue of infrastructure is acute.
Therefore, the President instructed to develop a program to solve problems with roads, electricity and water supply, and Internet access in tourist mahallas.
Road infrastructure is essential for travel. But over time, the number of cars increases. For example, five years ago, 25,000 cars passed along the Tashkent-Samarkand route, and today this figure has reached 35,000. Accordingly, the travel time also increased.
In this regard, the need to increase the frequency of rail and air communication between the cities of our country was emphasized.
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 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 Home Office has been tasked with reviewing this system and lifting excessive restrictions. Instead of temporary registration of foreign tourists, online notification will be used.
It is also planned to cancel the requirement for licensing the activities of travel agents with the introduction of a notification procedure. This will 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 serious attention to this direction in each region and attract more tourists, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
In general, it was indicated that there are opportunities to attract 7 million foreign and 12 million domestic tourists next year, increasing the export of tourism services to $ 2 billion. In this regard, specific areas of work were identified and those responsible for their implementation were identified.
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