Every year, interest grows in the tourism world to discover Uzbekistan as a country with a fascinating history, vibrant architecture and unique culture. This is no coincidence. On the territory of the republic there are more than seven thousand monuments of different eras and civilisations, most of which are located in the historical cities of the country such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, Shakhrisabz. They are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This is also confirmed by a steady growth trend in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country. In 2014, for example, there were 1.94 million people, 40% more than in 2011. And in 2016 – more than 2 million. At the same time, the export of tourist services more than tripled between 2011 and 2015.
The rare natural objects of Uzbekistan have allowed the republic to take the leading position among Central Asian countries in ecological tourism. Special attention should be paid to the world-famous nature reserves, including the Chatkal State Biosphere Reserve, which was included by UNESCO in the list of the largest nature reserves on Earth. Within the concept of ecotourism development in the republic, there is a great deal of work on reviving nature and maintaining the stability of the ecological situation of the Aydar-Arnasay lake system, Ugam-Chatkal recreation and Charvak recreation zones.
The rich flora and fauna, the amazing landscape, the contrast of natural zones, the diversity of cultural traditions and national cuisine, united in one place – all this can be found only in a few places in the world. And one of them is Uzbekistan.
Ecotourism is not only an effective tool for preserving natural and cultural heritage and restoring the ecosystem, but also an important element of sustainable development of the visited regions and improving the well-being of the local population.
New and relatively young but promising areas of ecotourism in the Republic are vitamin and geotourism.
It should be noted that the State Committee for Tourism Development, together with the Ministry of Health, has prepared the plans for the development of health tourism. The services of medical institutions can become part of travel products sold in Uzbekistan, especially to citizens from neighbouring countries. This type of tourism offers the possibility of combining recreation and treatment not only in sanatoriums and spas of the republic, but also in medical centres.
Since 2011, the modern electric high-speed Afrosiyob trains have been running on the Tashkent – Samarkand line. The extension of this line to Bukhara and Karshi created additional comfort for tourists. The next stage of planning is the establishment of such a railway connection to Khiva.
The commissioning of the Angren – Pop railway line, which runs over the Kamchik Pass at an altitude of 2,200 m, made it possible to connect the Ferghana Valley with other regions of Uzbekistan. In addition, this section of road has become the most important link in the new international transit corridor China – Central Asia – Europe, which will also open up new opportunities for tourism.
In recent years, about 3 thousand kilometres of modern highways have been built and reconstructed in the country, as well as a significant number of roadside infrastructure facilities, including campsites, petrol stations, catering and consumer services.