Uzbekistan takes new steps to boost tourism industry

TASHKENT (TCA) — In a bid to boost its tourism industry, Uzbekistan, starting from 1 January 2020, will introduce 30-day visa-free travel for tourists from 20 more countries, mostly in Central America, and partly compensate the expenses of tour operators and charter flight organizers if they bring in foreign tourists to the Central Asian country. The moves are stipulated by a presidential decree issued this week.

The number of countries for whose citizens Uzbekistan has introduced 30-day visa-free regime has now reached 85 and the Uzbek authorities say this is not a limit, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The head of the country gave very serious instructions to introduce a visa-free regime with a number of large states. I think that within a month these decisions will be brought to your attention,” Aziz Abdukhakimov, Uzbekistan’s deputy prime minister, told reporters in Tashkent.

The presidential decree also stipulates that from January 1, 2020, the Uzbek government will establish a procedure to refund tourist operators and air carriers for their spending on organizing charter flights from foreign countries to Uzbekistan.

For each foreign tourist served, the amount of compensation to tour operators and charter flights organizers will vary depending on the season, with 20 U.S. dollars during the warm season (usually from March to early November), and 50 dollars in the colder period (November 20 to February), the decree said.

Uzbekistan’s government has been taking measures to boost tourism. The government’s aim is to attract more than 9 million foreign tourists by 2025 and increase the share of the tourism industry in the gross domestic product from 2.3 percent in 2017 to 5 percent in 2025.


Times of Central Asia