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Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Macroregional Context




Samarkand hosts the session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization

Samarkand, a city steeped in history and culture, is currently playing host to the 25th session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which runs from October 16 to 20. This prestigious event has attracted representatives from over 140 countries, highlighting its importance not just for Uzbekistan but for the entire Central Asia region.

During the opening ceremony, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized the historical significance of hosting such a global event in Samarkand. He praised the UNWTO’s efforts to promote tourism development worldwide and shared Uzbekistan’s achievements under its “open doors” policy. The policy includes a visa-free regime for citizens of about 100 countries and a streamlined electronic visa process for 55 additional states.

President Mirziyoyev outlined the extensive support extended to the tourism sector, including tax and customs incentives, financial aid, and subsidies for new hotel construction and international branding. These initiatives have led to the implementation of over 800 infrastructure projects in the past two years, with more than $1 billion invested in enhancing Samarkand’s tourist facilities alone.

The impact of these efforts is evident in the significant growth of the tourism sector. The number of foreign tourists visiting Uzbekistan has doubled, and the revenue from tourism service exports has quadrupled. By the end of this year, Uzbekistan expects to welcome around 7 million tourists.

The UNWTO General Assembly in Samarkand also features a packed agenda, including international investment and educational forums. These events are attracting leading companies, universities, and organizations from the tourism industry, with numerous contracts and collaborative agreements anticipated. Additionally, the assembly will host an award ceremony for the best tourist villages and inaugurate the International Tourism Academy in Samarkand, accompanied by a series of plenary sessions and cultural festivities.

This assembly not only reinforces Samarkand’s and Uzbekistan’s positions on the global tourism map but also serves as a strategic platform for enhancing international tourism collaboration. For stakeholders in the tourism, cultural heritage, and hospitality sectors, this event represents a vital opportunity to engage with global trends and forge networks that can spur further growth and development in the region.

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