Undiscovered Treasures of Uzbekistan
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.