Aziz Ab­duhaki­mov: Wel­come to Uzbek­istan

“The tourist should travel and not wan­der among the bod­ies of the in­te­rior,” Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev said at a video con­fer­ence on Fe­bru­ary 22 de­voted to a crit­i­cal anal­y­sis of the ef­fec­tive­ness of mea­sures taken to in­crease the flow of for­eign touri

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - TRAVEL -

In the pres­i­den­tial de­cree “On mea­sures to en­sure the ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment of the tourism in­dus­try of the Re­pub­lic of Uzbek­istan”, signed on 2 De­cem­ber 2016, tourism is de­fined as a strate­gic branch of the econ­omy of our coun­try. The Pro­gram of Pri­or­ity Mea­sures for the De­vel­op­ment of Tourism for 2018-2019 was ap­proved. In Fe­bru­ary this year, four im­por­tant doc­u­ments re­lated to the de­vel­op­ment of tourism were adopted. Those nor­ma­tive acts set the pri­or­ity tasks for ad­dress­ing the is­sues fac­ing the in­dus­try, step­ping up the travel in­dus­try’s po­ten­tial, and pro­vid­ing many ben­e­fits and pref­er­ences for the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of in­ner tourism.

To­day, trans­for­ma­tion in the sec­tor is con­spic­u­ous. The na­tion be­comes more hos­pitable and friendly to­wards tourists. Among other things, one would like to note the bright events that ac­com­pany these se­ri­ous events and make them ex­tra­or­di­nary, mem­o­rable. They are in the cen­ter of our in­ter­view with the chair­man of the State Com­mit­tee for the De­vel­op­ment of Tourism, Aziz Ab­dukhaki­mov.

- Aziz Ab­duka­harovich, it was some­how sur­pris­ing to see you meet­ing the first flights of planes from Is­rael, In­done­sia, Sin­ga­pore, Turkey and Ja­pan af­ter the visafree regime for cit­i­zens of these coun­tries was es­tab­lished for a pe­riod of 30 days. Why was it im­por­tant for you?

- I am deeply con­vinced that any norm of leg­is­la­tion, es­pe­cially in the tourism in­dus­try, will work much more ef­fi­ciently if the process of its ful­fill­ment is filled with the warmth of the best tra­di­tions of hos­pi­tal­ity. The Uzbek peo­ple have al­ways been famed for their hos­pi­tal­ity, which was ex­pressed ex­clu­sively in the hu­man at­ti­tude to the guest. To post­pone one’s ur­gent deal­ings and con­cen­trate first of all to mak­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to please the guest as soon as one be­comes aware of a forth­com­ing visit, car­ing and stay­ing with them un­til farewell is a char­ac­ter­is­tic fea­ture of the tra­di­tions of our mul­ti­eth­nic peo­ple.

On the scale of the en­tire coun­try, the whole com­plex of mea­sures for the de­vel­op­ment of tourism in­fra­struc­ture, cur­rently be­ing im­ple­mented in Uzbek­istan, is made to create con­di­tions for tourists not to feel un­com­fort­able and feel the care at every turn.

Why was it im­por­tant for me to go to the air­port and per­son­ally meet the first cit­i­zens of the coun­tries that ar­rived in Uzbek­istan with whom our coun­try abol­ished the visa regime? If we com­pare yes­ter­day and to­day, we will see how the tourist in­fra­struc­ture has changed and is still chang­ing. We now have more and more con­ve­niences for tourists. And these flights were al­most in the first days af­ter the is­suance of reg­u­la­tions, when lit­tle else has changed. And this vac­uum needed to be filled with some­thing kind, mem­o­rable for all. There­fore, as the chief of the coun­try’s tourism ad­min­is­tra­tion, I came out to meet these dear guests. The com­mit­tee tried to make these min­utes bright. In my opin­ion, ev­ery­thing went well - our na­tional cha­pans, flow­ers, friendly shakes and short ex­changes of opin­ions made the ar­rival of these guests in our coun­try a bright oc­ca­sion that did not go un­no­ticed by any­one.

Let guests see and know that they are wel­comed here; here they will be ac­cepted as close and best friends. And af­ter all, they are re­ally our best friends, with whom we are con­nected very much. Look who ar­rived on the first flights. A lot of em­i­grants to Is­rael flew by plane, wish­ing to visit their rel­a­tives, while guests from Turkey per­ceive Uzbek­istan as the his­tor­i­cal home­land of their an­ces­tors. For In­done­sians, Malaysians, Sin­ga­pore­ans there are many sa­cred shrines, for Kore­ans and Ja­pa­nese our coun­try is im­por­tant as a cen­ter that cen­turies ago played an im­por­tant role in the de­vel­op­ment of their re­li­gion.

It was im­pos­si­ble not to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity and once again in­vite ev­ery­one to Uzbek­istan!

- A wide range of in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties is to be im­ple­mented. And the first step has al­ready been taken - tax and cus­toms priv­i­leges for busi­nesses who will build the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture. But time does not wait...

- I think the priv­i­leges and pref­er­ences granted will not make us wait long for the re­sults. Tourists should feel the care. There­fore, we are not idle: we are im­ple­ment­ing projects that can be re­al­ized now.

Here, for ex­am­ple, in tourist cities, we in­tro­duce a ser­vice for car loans. The main thing is that the tourist has an in­ter­na­tional driv­ing li­cense. Tourists like to pho­to­graph ev­ery­thing from a height. And we cre­ated this op­por­tu­nity with en­trepreneurs in Bukhara - by launch­ing a bal­loon. To­day, the tourist is wait­ing for ac­tion. To please them, we started to stage the­atri­cal shows in tourist cities, the plot of which is his­tory. In or­der to learn more about the sights, to­day you do not need a guide; all the in­for­ma­tion on most fa­cil­i­ties can be ob­tained on the cell phone us­ing the QR-code sys­tem. And this is only a small part of the in­no­va­tions in­tro­duced over the past few months. There will be more, we are work­ing on it.

- In the near fu­ture, a ma­jor con­struc­tion of new ho­tels, cafes, restau­rants, parks should un­fold... But will not it turn out that for the most of the time they will be empty and just not jus­tify them­selves?

- No, this will hardly be the case. We are now im­ple­ment­ing new sets of mea­sures that will fa­cil­i­tate a mul­ti­ple growth in in­flow­ing guests from abroad. More­over, our cit­i­zens them­selves will be more ac­tive in trav­el­ing. The need for hos­pi­tal­ity is very big. Al­ready we feel their short­age. At the same time, to help own­ers of these fa­cil­i­ties of tourist in­fra­struc­ture, we im­ple­ment a set of ac­tiv­i­ties that will evenly dis­trib­ute the load, so that ev­ery­one would feel com­fort­able.

- The Pres­i­dent spoke about the need to ex­pand the pro­mo­tion of tourism prod­ucts abroad. What do you think, but for greater ef­fi­ciency, is it not time to change the ap­proaches to this task?

- Oh, sure. And this ap­proach should be mul­ti­fac­eted. For ex­am­ple, if we are now with you from the same po­si­tion to shoot a par­tic­u­lar land­scape, then we will get sim­i­lar pho­tos, but the au­di­ence for these pic­tures will be dif­fer­ent. There­fore, we will now most ac­tively pro­mote do­mes­tic and for­eign jour­nal­ists, blog­gers, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all creative pro­fes­sions who want to create here in Uzbek­istan. So they do not create, in their works there will be a part of our coun­try, which means that an ad­di­tional rea­son for them is to say a thou­sand times: it was in Uzbek­istan!

For ex­am­ple, the other day we pro­vided full sup­port to the Rus­sian rap­per to shoot a clip in Bukhara for his new song. Just imag­ine how many young peo­ple around the world will see this video. And I’m sure there will al­ways be those who want to visit the places of film­ing.

We gen­er­ally had a lot of pro­hi­bi­tions on pho­tog­ra­phy and video shoot­ing. We are now re­mov­ing many re­stric­tions. For ex­am­ple, it is un­clear why it was im­pos­si­ble to be pho­tographed in the sub­way metro, when all its pic­tures are on the in­ter­net… But every new photo made in the un­der­ground by a tourist will con­tribute to the coun­try’s im­age and recog­ni­tion.

We will work to make our tourist brand more fa­mous. We have pro­vided the en­trepreneurs with the priv­i­leges that all the sou­venirs and printed prod­ucts in­tended for trav­el­ers should be an im­age of the coun­try’s tour brand, our busi­ness card.

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