Uzbekistan will start issuing short-term visas for transit passengers
Uzbekistan will start issuing short-term visas for transit passengers. Starting from May, upon-arrival the visas will be issued for foreign nationals for 72 hours. Earlier, Uzbekistan has already eased visa regulations for the citizens of Israel, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey and Japan. The residents of nine states, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, can stay in Uzbekistan visa-free for two months. Such measures are aimed at increasing the flow of tourists and attracting investors - including those from Central Asia. In this regard, the officials are looking into the options for effective use of border buffer zones.
AZIZ ABDUKHAKIMOV, CHAIRMAN, UZBEK STATE COMMITTEE FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT:
- Even if the buses stop for 10 minutes, we need to turn border areas into flourishing sites, sell souvenirs here and open restaurants. It is in the interests of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan that the people crossing our borders, first of all , the foreign nationals, spend their money here.
Uzbekistan relies heavily on the tourism industry. The country has the necessary infrastructure. The country has more than 7,300 cultural and historical sites. Ancient sights have been preserved, mainly in Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva and Shakhrisabz. The officials have prepared a regional tourism development program; work is underway to improve the potential of tourism organizations and bringing hotels to world standards.
YULDUZ RAHMANOVA, MANAGER, TOURIST COMPANY:
- What does the visa-free entry allow doing? You can visit Uzbekistan on route to another country. Within 72 hours, after arriving in Tashkent, you can visit Samarkand and Bukhara, see our sights, historical monuments there.
In addition, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are working on creation of a tourist route "Astana-Shymkent-Zhibek Zholy". The route may soon include the biggest Kazakh city of Alamty. Within the framework of the project, the authorities intend to improve air and rail routes.
ERIK UTEMBAYEV, KAZAKH AMBASSADOR TO UZBEKISTAN:
- Arrangements have been reached with the aviation authorities in Tashkent, which will facilitate the implementation of this pilot project, and this will increase the flow of Chinese tourists at the first stage. At the second stage, we want to develop this pilot project in other states. In this respect, the infrastructure that exists in Kazakhstan, the airports of Astana and Almaty, will allow tourists to visit Tashkent without interference and use the railway routes connecting with Samarkand and Bukhara and create a new tourist route on the Silk Road.
The Uzbek authorities are confident that the visa-free entries will help boost entrepreneurship along with tourism. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have already seen a growth in mutual trade and economic relations in the recent years. The border control between the two states has been systematized and the range of tourism services has been expanded.