Undis­cov­ered Trea­sures of Uzbek­istan

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - FRONT PAGE - Marat AITOV, Se­nior re­search fel­low at the In­sti­tute for Strate­gic and In­ter­re­gional Stud­ies

De­scrib­ing the un­usual trav­els of the Nor­we­gian tourist K. Lind­gren, the au­thor­i­ta­tive Bri­tish pa­per Daily Mail notes that he vis­ited 97 coun­tries and took a huge amount of stun­ning pho­to­graphs. Re­fus­ing to travel to fa­mous places, which are al­ready known all over the world, Lind­gren cre­ated his own blog Unusu­alTrav­eler. In one of the en­tries of this blog, he notes that he found the trea­sure - the Aral Sea.

And there are hun­dreds of such notes on the in­ter­net. Against this back­ground, we ask our­selves whether we know about such a trea­sure. Do for­eign tourists know that that is prob­a­bly the only place in the world where you can find a real ship grave­yard? Un­for­tu­nately, the an­swer is not al­ways pos­i­tive.

Uzbek­istan is truly a unique coun­try. There are more than 7.3 thou­sand ob­jects of cul­tural her­itage. At the same time, there are a lot of ob­jects that have not yet been fully ex­plored. So, in the Beruni re­gion of Karakalpak­stan there is a com­plex of Sul­tan UwaisBobo. Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal leg­ends, this Ye­meni shep­herd Uwais alQarani who lived here and in honor of whom this place was named, be­came fa­mous for his ac­tiv­ity in col­lect­ing and study­ing ha­dith. He never saw the Prophet, but he was a very de­vout per­son. The ru­mor about him reached the Prophet Muham­mad, and four of his com­pan­ions brought him clothes. Later fol­low­ers of Sul­tan Uwais built a sym­bolic mau­soleum in his honor and turned it into a place of wor­ship (still you can see a stone on which, ac­cord­ing to leg­end, there was a trace from the shin of Sul­tan Uwais). Cur­rently, pil­grims come here from var­i­ous re­gions of Uzbek­istan, as well as from Turk­menistan and Kaza­khstan.

At the same time, the de­vel­op­ment of tourism pro­grams of cities and re­gions can not be achieved only through the ef­forts of state au­thor­i­ties. To en­sure their re­al­iza­tion and work, it is nec­es­sary to fully in­volve the busi­ness com­mu­nity, the pub­lic and academia in th­ese pro­cesses. If such a sym­bio­sis takes place, the tourist in­dus­try will de­velop.

How­ever, the ar­ti­cle in Wikipedia about Uwais al-Qarani in English (which of­ten be­comes the main source of in­for­ma­tion for po­ten­tial tourists) does not even men­tion Uzbek­istan nor the Beruni dis­trict. At the same time, it noted that com­plexes and mosques have been erected in honor of Sul­tan Uwais in Syria, Oman and Tur­key. Prob­a­bly, the au­thors of Wikipedia are sim­ply not aware of the fact that Sul­tan Uwais is di­rectly re­lated to Uzbek­istan. And this is our fault. We could not show the world the con­nec­tion of Uvays al-Qarani with our coun­try. But this place could be­come a place of at­trac­tion for tourists. We could at­tract thou­sands of tourists from Mus­lim coun­tries. More­over, even the own pop­u­la­tion of Uzbek­istan is poorly in­formed about this. It can be noted with cer­tainty that there are dozens of such places in our coun­try.

Per­haps some of us still un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of tourism. Thus, ac­cord­ing to the UN World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion, in 2016 the con­tri­bu­tion of tourism to the world econ­omy amounted to $ 7.6 tril­lion, which ex­ceeds 10% of global GDP. The num­ber of tourists in the world reached 1.2 bil­lion. The tourism in­dus­try cre­ates one of 10 jobs on the planet. In turn, the num­ber of tourists who vis­ited Uzbek­istan in 2017 ex­ceeded the 2.5 mil­lion. This is 24% more than in 2016. At first glance, this is a good in­di­ca­tor. How­ever, if we com­pare it with, for ex­am­ple, Ge­or­gia (with a pop­u­la­tion of 3.8 mil­lion peo­ple in 2017 it was vis­ited by more than 7.5 mil­lion peo­ple), it be­comes clear that in the tourist sphere we need to do a great job. And it has al­ready be­gun.

In his Ad­dress to the na­tional par­lia­ment, the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan Shavkat Mirziy­oyev stressed the need for the de­vel­op­ment of pil­grim­age, eco­log­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional, ethno­graphic, gas­tro­nomic and other types of tourism. He pro­posed to de­velop a pro­gram of ‘small hajj’, con­sist­ing in pil­grim­age to holy places and fa­mil­iar­iza­tion with mon­u­ments of Sa­markand, Bukhara and Tashkent. Sul­tan Uwais could be­come one of the pearls of this pro­gram. In ad­di­tion, the Pres­i­den­tial De­cree “On Ad­di­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tional Mea­sures to Cre­ate Fa­vor­able Con­di­tions for the De­vel­op­ment of Tourism Po­ten­tial of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan” was signed, ac­cord­ing to which our coun­try, from Fe­bru­ary 10, 2018, in­tro­duces a 30-day visa-free regime for cit­i­zens of seven coun­tries: Is­rael, In­done­sia, Repub­lic of Ko­rea, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Tur­key and Ja­pan. Thus, the to­tal num­ber of coun­tries for whose cit­i­zens the visa-free regime will op­er­ate will reach 16.

More­over, Uzbek­istan will ac­tively de­velop the pro­gram for the de­vel­op­ment of do­mes­tic tourism “Travel around Uzbek­istan!” It pro­vides for the or­ga­ni­za­tion of tourist and ex­cur­sion tours around the coun­try's re­gions for stu­dents of ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, work­ers of dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions, so­cially vul­ner­a­ble cat­e­gories of the pop­u­la­tion, pen­sion­ers, war and la­bor vet­er­ans, and as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the older gen­er­a­tion, young fam­i­lies, ac­tivists of cit­i­zens' gath­er­ings, women’s and other pub­lic as­so­ci­a­tions.

Im­por­tant is the De­cree of the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan on the es­tab­lish­ment of ad­di­tional non-work­ing days dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of of­fi­cial dates and the post­pone­ment of days off in 2018. In or­der to en­sure ra­tio­nal use by em­ploy­ees of the days of con­tin­u­ous rest, stip­u­lated by the de­cree, spe­cific mea­sures are en­vis­aged for or­ga­niz­ing fam­ily va­ca­tions, in­clud­ing the for­ma­tion of do­mes­tic tourism routes and the in­tro­duc­tion of dis­counts for trans­port and ho­tel ser­vices to em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies who wish to visit the cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal cen­ters of our coun­try, spend an ex­tended week­end in the hol­i­day homes and board­ing houses of the repub­lic.

It should be un­der­stood that do­mes­tic tourism, in ad­di­tion to eco­nomic, plays an im­por­tant moral, ed­u­ca­tional and pa­tri­otic role. Guests and res­i­dents of the re­gion touch the na­tional cul­ture, get ac­quainted with the mon­u­ments of na­ture, his­tory, ar­chi­tec­ture. It is im­por­tant not only to at­tract tourists to Uzbek­istan, but also to ac­quaint Uzbek peo­ple with fa­mil­iar but not al­ways known places, help them to go through the ways of Alexan­der the Great in Sa­markand, touch the shrines of Bukhara, bow their heads be­fore the mem­ory of Jalolid­din Man­gu­berdi, visit places sung by Navoi and Babur.

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