Not Just Sa­markand and Bukhara

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - TRAVELS - Grig­ory Putint­sev

The res­o­lu­tion of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly “Strength­en­ing re­gional and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to en­sure peace, sta­bil­ity and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment in the Cen­tral Asian re­gion” out­lines is­sues of pre­serv­ing the eco­log­i­cal well- be­ing in the re­gion, the need to ra­tio­nally solve wa­ter prob­lems, and pre­serve bio­di­ver­sity.

It is note­wor­thy that a cit­i­zen of any coun­try of the world can make a de­ci­sion in these vi­tal tasks. Hav­ing cho­sen this di­rec­tion for tourist trip to our coun­try, one can en­sure not only an ac­quain­tance with the unique lit­tle- known sites, but also help in their preser­va­tion. Af­ter all, the de­vel­op­ment of tourism con­trib­utes to the em­ploy­ment of lo­cal peo­ple, to the in­crease of their well- be­ing, re­plen­ish­ment of lo­cal bud­gets, where the money is di­rected, in par­tic­u­lar, for the pro­tec­tion of na­ture. Uzbek­istan is not only Sa­markand, Bukhara or Khiva. It is about a mil­lion in­ter­est­ing and amaz­ing places! Come! We have a lot of in­ter­est­ing things to show... Ma­te­ri­als of prom­i­nent for­eign me­dia are sug­ges­tive of this.

LOOK­ING TO STATIS­TICS FOR A START

Uzbek­istan at­tracts thou­sands and thou­sands of trav­el­ers an­nu­ally, but these fig­ures do not fully dis­close the tourist po­ten­tial of our coun­try. There­fore, pro­found re­forms are be­ing car­ried out in the repub­lic for the ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment of this sphere. Sum­ming up the re­sults of the first half of this year, we can con­fi­dently say that the ac­tions taken have a pos­i­tive ef­fect. Thus, the over­all fig­ure for the num­ber of for­eign­ers en­ter­ing the coun­try has al­most dou­bled com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2017 and amounted to 2,688,962 peo­ple ( an in­crease of 91.6%).

It is im­por­tant to note that the num­ber of tourists from coun­tries for which a visa- free regime was in­tro­duced has sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased. They are:

Turkey – 31,966 (+ 95.6%) Ja­pan – 6,200 ( 68.1%) Is­rael – 3,615 (+ 86.2%) In­done­sia – 750 ( more than three­fold) Sin­ga­pore – 424 ( more than 2.5 times)

Separately, it can be noted that in June, there was an in­crease in the num­ber of cit­i­zens from the Repub­lic of Korea ( 57.5%) and Malaysia ( 2.6 times), al­though there was a slight de­crease un­til May 2018.

THREE POINTS OF VIEW

The June is­sue of the mag­a­zine Ac­qua & Sapone, pub­lished in Italy with a cir­cu­la­tion of 120 thou­sand copies, pub­lished an ar­ti­cle by the well- known Ital­ian photo reporter and pres­i­dent of the Group of Tourist Pho­tog­ra­phers ( Fo­tografico Vi­aggi) Roberto Gabriele, en­ti­tled “Kup­kari: equestrian match peer­less in the world”. The piece was pre­pared fol­low­ing the visit by 12 mem­bers of this group to Uzbek­istan this March with the as­sis­tance of the em­bassy of our coun­try in Rome.

The Ital­ian pho­tog­ra­pher in­forms that “hav­ing learned about the lo­cal tra­di­tion, the equestrian com­pe­ti­tion of kup­kari dur­ing my sec­ond trip to Uzbek­istan, I de­cided to go be­yond the typ­i­cal tourist route ly­ing be­tween the beau­ti­ful cities: Sa­markand ( sung in the song), Bukhara ( fa­mous for car­pets) and Khiva ( UNESCO World Her­itage Site and fa­mous fortress walls), and find the kup­kari to ex­pe­ri­ence this event first- hand and take a few pho­tos.

“I was sure that I could come across it, be­cause these com­pe­ti­tions are held on the oc­ca­sion of na­tional and re­li­gious hol­i­days or wed­ding cer­e­mony and cir­cum­ci­sion.”

Roberto Gabriele vis­ited na­tional com­pe­ti­tions on the day of the cel­e­bra­tion of Navruz – March 21 – near Sa­markand and, with the help of a guide, went to the vil­lage where the kup­kari was to be held. The au­thor in col­or­ful form de­scribed in the mag­a­zine the sit­u­a­tion and rules of folk game also known as uloq, con­cur­rently not­ing that the con­test did not be­gin un­til the Ital­ian guest was treated by hos­pitable hosts with sev­eral lunch dishes and tea.

The jour­nal­ist from Italy stressed that par­tic­i­pa­tion in such an event is an ex­pe­ri­ence that en­com­passes all feel­ings, does not leave the viewer in­dif­fer­ent: peo­ple scream­ing, the smell of horses that mixes with the smoke of shish ke­bab, the hot sun and the taste of dust in the throat and eyes that see through the cam­era lens.

“Watch­ing the kup­kari com­pe­ti­tion, you feel your­self an in­te­gral part of it, you feel the thrill of a gal­lop of 30 horses, rush­ing for­ward and risk­ing crush­ing every­one and ev­ery­thing in its path. And even for an out­sider Westerner, this day has left much more than the pho­to­graphs taken: these are the smiles and hos­pi­tal­ity of the Uzbeks, the taste of a great cul­ture,” con­cludes Gabriele.

It should be noted that in 2018, more than 100 tra­di­tional events, cul­tural and sports festivals take place in var­i­ous re­gions and re­mote areas of our coun­try, which in­creas­ingly at­tract for­eign tourists from all over the world with their gen­uine and col­or­ful sub­stance.

Is­lamic his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties of Uzbek­istan are in­creas­ingly the ob­ject of at­trac­tion to Malaysia na­tion­als. The Malaysian on­line edi­tion MS­tars pub­lished an ar­ti­cle ti­tled “Beau­ti­ful, fas­ci­nat­ing and wor­thy visit to Uzbek­istan”.

The piece pro­vides de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on the tourism po­ten­tial and the cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage of Uzbek­istan. The au­thor shares his im­pres­sions of vis­it­ing ar­chi­tec­tural fa­cil­i­ties and mon­u­ments of Tashkent, Sa­markand and Bukhara.

The ar­ti­cle em­pha­sizes that Uzbek­istan is at­trac­tive in all sea­sons. It is noted that win­ter is be­com­ing more pop­u­lar among Malaysian tourists to visit Uzbek­istan, as many of them have never seen snow.

There are more con­ve­niences and con­di­tions for travel of Malaysian na­tion­als in Uzbek­istan. In­tro­duced from Fe­bru­ary 10, visa- free regime for Malaysia, the avail­abil­ity of two di­rect flights a week from Kuala Lumpur, the in­tro­duc­tion of a green cor­ri­dor at the in­ter­na­tional air­port in Tashkent, and the high qual­ity of ho­tel ser­vice stan­dards in Uzbek­istan are pos­i­tive changes made within a short pe­riod of time.

The au­thor shares his im­pres­sions of vis­it­ing the Hazrati Imam com­plex in Tashkent and Shahi Zinda in Sa­markand, as well as the mau­soleum of Imam Al- Bukhari.

The ar­ti­cle says that Uzbek­istan is one of the old­est cen­ters of Is­lamic civ­i­liza­tion with unique his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural mon­u­ments in Tashkent, Sa­markand, Bukhara and other cities.

In Shanghai, the 16th an­nual award cer­e­mony of the pop­u­lar mag­a­zine Travel & Leisure has taken place for the best achieve­ments in 2017 in the tourism in­dus­try ( Travel & Leisure In­dus­try Awards).

Dur­ing the event with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of rec­og­nized ho­tel brands and di­plo­mats, nom­i­na­tions were an­nounced in cat­e­gories: ho­tels, air­lines, ser­vice, restau­rants, spa, leisure and en­ter­tain­ment for tourists.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­sults of se­lec­tion in the rank­ing of the most at­trac­tive tourist desti­na­tions for the or­ga­ni­za­tion of trips in 2017, the best were Switzer­land, Canada, France, the United States, Great Bri­tain, Fin­land, Uzbek­istan and the Mal­dives.

Af­ter an­a­lyz­ing the as­sess­ments and dif­fer­ent opin­ions, the edi­torin- chief of Travel & Leisure, Jan Zeping, de­clared Uzbek­istan and the United States win­ners in the nom­i­na­tion “The best tourist desti­na­tions”.

The Chi­nese Travel & Leisure is anal­o­gous to the Amer­i­can ver­sion of the mag­a­zine, and it was cre­ated in 2001. Its cir­cu­la­tion in China is 630 thou­sand copies a year. For more than 15 years, the mag­a­zine has spon­sored the Travel & Leisure In­dus­try Awards. In ad­di­tion, it is the first and of­fi­cial travel me­dia part­ner of the In­ter­na­tional Fair of Ex­clu­sive Tourism and the World Travel Awards in Asia. Ev­ery day, up to 100 thou­sand peo­ple read the on­line ver­sion of the mag­a­zine, and the num­ber of its sub­scribers ex­ceeds 1 mil­lion.

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