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National Tourism of Uzbekistan

National Tourism of Uzbekistan: An Important Stage in Strengthening its Image on the World Stage

In the Khorezm region, from May 31 to June 2, the international event “Khiva – the tourist city of the Islamic world 2024” and the XII session of the ministers of tourism of the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be held.

It is no coincidence that such a prestigious event of world significance is held in our country. In recent years, a number of changes have occurred in the tourism sector of Uzbekistan: the adoption of regulatory documents on the development of the industry; organization of events at the republican and international level; creation of new educational institutions; increase in tourist flow several times; promotion of unique tourism products; development of new directions and improvement of infrastructure; attracting foreign investors; our country occupies high positions in many international rankings.

The comprehensive measures taken will be presented at this international conference, which is organized in accordance with the decree of the President of Uzbekistan “On measures for the preparation and holding of the international event “Khiva – the tourist capital of the Islamic world 2024” dated July 12, 2023.

In 2023, the number of foreign tourists visiting our country was about seven million. And within the framework of the program “Travel around Uzbekistan!” 20.6 million domestic tourists made exciting trips around the republic. There were also 853 accommodation facilities opened (24,883 beds). Of these, 134 are hotels, 232 are hostels, 452 are family guest houses, three sanatoriums and health centers. Today in our country there are 2,725 tourism organizations and 2,551 tour guides.

Increasing the industry’s share in the domestic economy based on the formation of national and modern infrastructure in Uzbekistan, ensuring its efficiency and competitiveness is one of the relevant aspects. In this regard, the Presidential Decree “On measures to ensure the accelerated development of the tourism industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan” dated December 2, 2016, in which for the first time in the economy, tourism was given the status of a strategic industry, is of great importance. As a result, a new stage in the development of the sphere began in the country.

At the same time, it was important to establish cooperation with foreign countries and international organizations and jointly hold various events. After all, the promotion of our country’s tourism opportunities abroad should contribute to the widespread attraction of foreign investors and businessmen. In addition, the work carried out with partner organizations leads not only to improving the tourism sector, but also to strengthening the authority of Uzbekistan in the world community.

In 2023, the XXV session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization was held in Samarkand. Holding a high-level event in our republic is a historical event. In 2024, Shakhrisabz became the tourist capital of the Economic Cooperation Organization. In this regard, an international event was held in the ancient city in partnership with ECO member states. According to the decision taken at the XI session of the tourism ministers of the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (held in Baku on June 27-29, 2022), Khiva was declared the tourist capital of the Islamic world in 2024. Information about this appeared in many foreign media and social networks.

In particular, the Malaysian National News Agency BERNAMA published an article entitled “Khiva – ambitious plans announced to promote the brand of the tourist capital of the Islamic world in 2024.” The article notes that Khiva is preparing to become a tourist city of the Islamic world to showcase its rich architectural heritage and vibrant culture: “The decision was taken at the 2022 meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Baku. The Government of Uzbekistan has identified a number of high-level events that need to be carried out in 2024 in order to develop the potential of pilgrimage, cultural and business tourism.”

As written in the publication, Khiva, founded more than 2,500 years ago, is known as one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan. The ancient citadel of Ichan-Kala, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990, is the best preserved of the medieval structures along the Great Silk Road.

“Visitors will be transported back in time as they stroll through the labyrinthine streets and gaze upon the towering minarets and ornate mosques,” writes BERNAMA. Khiva is famous not only for its material heritage, but also for its national values. Among them is the Khorezm dance – lazgi, recognized by UNESCO as an integral part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Khorezm cuisine, including tukhum barak and local fish dishes, gives an insight into the unique culture of the region.

In accordance with the above-mentioned Presidential Decree of July 12, 2023, the XII session of the Ministers of Tourism of the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (ICTM) is planned to be held in the city of Khiva. During the meeting, the tourism potential of the member countries will be presented, the results of ongoing work in the field of tourism will be analyzed, and plans for the future will be determined. Much preparation has been made for the high-level international event. In particular, for the convenience of guests, a tourist map and relevant signs are installed on the territory. Promotional materials with detailed information about the region’s tourism potential and cultural heritage sites are prepared in English and Arabic.

An information tour was organized for media representatives of the OIC member states in the Khorezm region. The international tournament “Pakhlavon Mahmud – Strongmen Games” and the gastronomic festival “Taste of Uzbekistan” were held in Khiva at a high level, attracting about ten thousand tourists. Hotels and restaurants have been prepared for participants of the international event in Tashkent, Urgench and Khiva, where services for pilgrimage tourism are in turn organized.

In March of this year, a group from the OIC Secretariat visited Uzbekistan. Invitations were sent to 55 countries, 10 international organizations, more than 100 foreign and local media, as well as bloggers. Representatives of official organizations of our republic are systematically working with the OIC Secretariat and member states to ensure a high level of participation of those invited to the event. The meeting of tourism ministers of member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Khiva is an excellent opportunity to attract leading representatives of the tourism industry, OIC member states, foreign investors and businessmen, and numerous tourists.

It should be noted that in conditions of fierce competition in the global economy, the process of developing and conquering new markets continues on the basis of marketing research and the introduction of other types of tourism. At the same time, the further development of the international tourism potential of Uzbekistan and its related industries is of great importance.

Alisher Eshtaev is Professor, Doctor of Economic Sciences.