The development of Uzbekistan’s tourism contributes to the growth of the people’s welfare

The development of Uzbekistan’s tourism contributes to the growth of the people’s welfare

 Uzbekistan, with its rich cultural heritage, historical sites, and stunning natural landscapes, is committed to advancing its tourism sector. The “Uzbekistan – 2030” Strategy aims to boost the number of tourists by creating favorable conditions for both international and domestic tourism.

Uzbekistan achieved 98% of its pre-pandemic foreign tourist numbers. In 2019, the country welcomed 6.748 million foreign tourists, and by 2023, this figure was 6.626 million, illustrating a swift recovery.

To attract more foreign tourists, Uzbekistan has implemented several practical measures such as simplifying the visa regime, developing new tourism routes, investing in relevant projects, and hosting significant events. For instance, in 2023, a total of 508 projects worth 9.5 trillion soums were executed, resulting in the creation of 9,492 new jobs. 183 new hotels and 232 hostels were launched, and the total number of accommodation facilities reached 5,526. Additionally, 452 family guest houses were established, bringing the total number to 3,458. As a result of opening 810 new tourist organizations and travel agencies, the total number of such entities has increased to 2,649.

From 2017 to 2023, the number of foreign tourists visiting Uzbekistan has significantly increased. Specifically, in 2017, the country was visited by 2.7 million people, whereas in 2023, this figure rose to 6.6 million, which is 2.5 times more than in 2017 and 1.3 times more than in 2022.

The number of tourists from Japan increased fivefold in 2023, while those from India and Italy increased by 3.5 times, and from the USA by two times. In 2023, 80.7% of foreign tourists came from neighboring countries, 11.5% from other CIS countries, and 7.8% from other countries. The average length of stay for tourists increased to 4-5 days, which is 1.5 times more than in 2022 (3 days). This indicates that all necessary conditions for a comfortable stay of tourists have been created in the country.

Domestic tourism is also developing rapidly. Within the framework of the “Travel around Uzbekistan!” program, 15 million people traveled around the country, making 21 million visits to various regions. As part of social support, 1 100 people with disabilities and 570,000 young people were sent on trips.

In 2023, the export of tourist services amounted to $2.1435 billion, which is 1.3 times more than in 2022. Additionally, about 70,000 new jobs were created in the tourism and related sectors. This indicates that all necessary conditions for tourists have been created in the country, which contributes to economic growth and improved living standards.

The development of tourism also helps the country achieve high positions in international rankings. For example, in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI-2023), Uzbekistan ranked 13th among 140 countries in the international pilgrimage tourism rating. At the Halal In Travel Awards 2023 ceremony, the city of Khiva was awarded the “Islamic Heritage Tourism Destination of the Year” prize.

At the 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly held in 2023 in Samarkand, the village of Sentob in Navoi region won the “Best Tourism Village 2023” award. Additionally, the international publishing company Lonely Planet awarded Uzbekistan a special certificate in the nomination “Best Travel Destination 2024.”

Uzbekistan’s inclusion in the list of the best countries to travel to in 2024, according to the World of Statistics announcement, will contribute to an increase in the number of foreign tourists and the volume of export of tourist services. All this helps strengthen the country’s international image.

Overall, the current state of Uzbekistan’s tourism sector and its development trends show positive results. The analysis of measures taken for further tourism development and future prospects confirms the strategic importance of this sector. Additionally, the objectives set for tourism development in the “Uzbekistan – 2030” strategy contribute to increasing the income of the population, creating new jobs, and ensuring the welfare of the people.

Iskandar Urokboev,  chief Specialist of the Department for Monitoring and Analysis of Economic Reforms at the “Development Strategy” Center