EU supports rural and ecotourism project in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT (TCA) — A project to support the construction of guest houses and the development of rural and ecotourism is getting started in Uzbekistan’s Tashkent and Surkhandarya regions, the Jahon information agency reports.

Given the growing interest in rural and ecological tourism and in the development of new tourist routes, the Association of Private Tourist Agencies of Uzbekistan has launched a European Union-supported project ‘Strengthening rural and ecotourism through business associations for sustainable economic development in Central Asia’. The initiative will be implemented within the 4th phase of the program of the European Union ‘Central Asia Invest: Improving the Competitiveness of Small Businesses.’ It is implemented by the European Center for Eco and Agro Tourism ECEAT (Netherlands), the Association of Private Tourist Agencies of Uzbekistan and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan.

“Our project is primarily focused on regions with great potential from the point of view of tourism development,” the executive director of the Association of Private Tourist Agencies of Uzbekistan, project manager Gulchekhra Isroilova commented. “We see the creation of guest houses as an effective solution of the assigned tasks. And our task is to provide consulting assistance to the population of Tashkent and Surkhandarya regions in this direction.”

Rural tourism is considered as the services provided by rural families on an individual basis. Tourist services are sold directly to tourists or through tour operators and can include ‘bed and breakfast’, excursions, local attractions. In general, these services are an additional source of income for the rural population, based on relatively low investment.

A survey among travel companies-members of the Association of Private Tourist Agencies made it possible to select travel companies interested in participating in this project and developing rural and ecotourism in Uzbekistan, and a working group of representatives of travel companies was formed.

The participants of the working group will participate in the identification of potential regions for the development of this area of tourism, the development of new tourist routes, in assessing the readiness of guest houses, and in upgrading their skills.

Based on the results of Isroilova’s working trip to Surkhandarya region, a decision was made to implement the project in Boysun district as the most attractive for the creation and development of guest houses.

During the visit, working meetings were held with the owners of the Parvin and Salom Hofiz guest houses and representatives of the local small private business, who plan to implement projects for the construction of guest houses and yurt camps.

Sergey Kwan

Sergey Kwan

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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