Uzbekistan is fast becoming a popular tourist destination backed by an ancient and spiritual heritage plus a rich culture. An important factor in the dynamic development of this country is its unique location at the crossroads of the Silk Road which provided a link between Eastern and Western cultures. Uzbekistan has more than 7,000 monuments of different epochs and civilizations many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Samarkand, once capital of the great empire of Tamerlane, has several renowned attractions including the architectural ensemble Registan, Ulugh Beg observatory, the famous mausoleum of Amir Tamerlane and Bibi Khanum Mosque, considered one of the finest examples of eastern medieval architecture.
Bukhara, which is situated on the Silk Route, is regarded as Central Asia’s holiest city and has architecture spanning thousands of years evident in its majestic minarets, mosques and madrassas, bazaars and shopping domes, havuz/pools and more.
Cities like Khiva, Shahrisabz, and Termez, with their equally rich centuries-old history and unique architectural masterpieces, are also major tourist draws.
Since independence, Uzbekistan has developed new policies on tourism. On 27 July, 1992, a state body called National Company ‘Uzbektourism’ was created following a resolution passed by President Islam Karimov. This organization was entrusted with the task of the formation of a national model of tourism development, improve infrastructure and increase tourist activities.
During 1999-2005, the state program of tourism development in the country was implemented and in recent years, regional programs to support the leisure industry in Tashkent, Kashkadarya, Khorezm and other regions have been carried out successfully.
Uzbekistan has been tagged as a country with a dynamically developing modern tourist infrastructure. Many new luxury hotels have been built, including a nationwide network of B&Bs which provide quality service. New travel attractions include ecotourism, geotourism, mountain climbing, rafting and fishing.
Airports in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench, Navoi and Fergana have been modernized. Today, there are 11 international air harbors in the country. National air carrier Uzbekistan Airways has the most modern aircrafts with services to more than 50 cities of Europe, Asia, Middle East and North America. The country’s rail transport is efficient, too, with the high-speed train Afrosiyob providing comfortable travel between Tashkent, Samarkand and Karshi.
Uzbekistan has created a favorable environment for businesses associated with the tourism sector. According to a 2015 data, there are 1279 tourist organizations in the country, 548 hotels, hostels and campgrounds and 731 travel companies.
In order to further increase tourist flow, Uzbekistan is actively developing cooperation with many countries of the world. In this context, inter-governmental and inter-agency agreements have been signed with a number of countries.
Since 1995, Uzbekistan has been holding an annual Tashkent International Tourism Fair (TITF) which has proved to be a good platform for constructive dialogue of partners operating in this sphere. Hosted Buyers, a specialized program of business meetings to which select buyers are pre-invited to meet interested partners and arrange for sale or implementation of a project, has become the main attraction of TITF 2015.
Since 2013, the World of Rest exhibition is held every year in April which provides an opportunity for domestic and foreign tour operators to promote their products and services and to conclude contracts with clients.