BUKHARA. CHANGES IN TOURISM (2017-2020)
Bukhara is known as the “Pearl of the Orient” for its rich history, culture, role in the development of science. It is the oasis with unique architectural monuments and the land where great scientists grew up.
In recent years, under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the introduction of the principle of openness in foreign policy gave an opportunity to the representatives of 86 countries to be provided with a visa-free entry for a period of up to 30 days, citizens of 56 countries were given right to obtain an electronic visa in a simplified manner, and residents of 101 countries can enter Uzbekistan without a visa for up to 5 days when traveling to a third country. All these favorable opportunities have opened up new prospects for the national tourism potential.
According to the analyses, by 2019, the number of tourists visiting Bukhara region reached 3.7 million, which is 3.5 times more than compared to 2016.
Along with the increase in the flow of tourists in the oasis, the number of tourist infrastructure facilities has also increased several times. Currently, 121 travel companies, 211 accompanying interpreters, 18 tourist information centers, 366 hotels and accommodation facilities (8580 pax), including 151 hotels (5945 pax), 35 hostels (880 pax), 180 home hotels (1755 pax), as well as 76 modern restaurants, 134 tourist-class buses, 111 minibuses provide convenient and high quality services to tourists.
Bukhara is also recognized as the cradle of Islamic civilization, which gave birth to such great and famous people in the Islamic world as Hazrat Imam Abu Havs Kabir, Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, Abu Bakr Narshahi, Abu Bakr Kalabadi, representatives of “Seven Saints” such as Abdukhaliq Gijduvani, Muhammad Arif Revgari, Mahmud Anjir Fagnavi, Khoja Ali Romitani, Muhammad Babai Samosi, , Amir Kulol and Bahauddin Naqshband.
Therefore, taking into account the high potential of Bukhara for pilgrimage tourism, the I International “Pilgrimage Tourism Forum” was held in Bukhara in February 2019 and the “Bukhara Declaration” on the recognition of Uzbekistan as one of the centers of pilgrimage tourism was adopted.
Along the tourist routes, 67 currency exchange offices, 35 automated currency exchange ATMs and more than 1,200 payment terminals were installed.
Today, approximately 100 new hotels are under construction, and 68 of them are located in the city of Bukhara .
As a result of negotiations on attracting potential entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate the development of tourism, 3 large hotels (Zarafshan, Bukhara Palace, Varakhsha) in Bukhara, which had not been operating for more than 20 years, were given to investors. On the basis of these hotels 4 star “Sahid Zarafshan” and 3 star” Orient Star Varahsha” hotels have been launched. The brand of the perspective Indonesian company Sahid Hotels Groups has been releaseed at the Sahid Zarafshan Hotel.
Work is underway to establish a foreign hotel brand management “Wyndham” on the site of the Bukhara Palace Hotel.
At the 11th Islamic Conference held in Tunisia on December 18 2019, the Organization of Islamic Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO) issued a resolution whereby Bukhara was designated as Capital of Islamic Culture for the Asian region for the year 2020. Accordingly, scientific and practical conferences and events on this topic are being held this year.
With the initiative of the head of our state large-scale reconstruction works have been carried out at the shrines of our great ancestors, who made a great contribution to the development of Islam, particularly at the shrines of “Seven saints”. A total of 7 hotels with all amenities were built next to each complex.
The museum exhibits in the village of Afshona, the birthplace of Abu Ali ibn Sino, the great son of the Uzbek people, the world-famous king of medical science Avicenna, have been further enriched; new communication services and favorable conditions have been created.
In this area, “Ibn Sina Heritage Complex” is about to be established, which will include folk medicine, clinical treatment, a science center as well as modern hotel services.
… The invaluable heritage of our great ancestor has not lost its value and has been serving the perfection of mankind and the development of society. Therefore, scientists around the world seek to discover new aspects of the scientist’s legacy, to use it in the development of various areas of science, including medical practice.
Within the framework of these events, on April 17, 2019, a monument in honor of Abu Ali ibn Sino (Avicenna) was erected in the Friendship Park on Rueil Malmaison, in order to foster brotherly relations and international cooperation between the cities of Bukhara and the French city of Rueil Malmaison.
The Poyi Kalon complex in Bukhara region was included in the list of “Eight wonders of SCO” during the Eurasian Economic Forum in Xi’an, China.
Along with the historical part of the city of Bukhara, artefacts of glorious cultural heritage, new tourist routes were developed and new tourist sites were constructed in the countryside and deserted areas. In particular, as a Beach tourism construction, several objects such as “Silk Road Family Resort” recreation area in Tudakul reservoir near Bukhara and innovative desert tourism cluster called “Bukhara Desert Oasis & Spa” which is located in ancient Varakhsha massif in desert area of Romitan district were launched.
Moreover, in the field of eco-tourism, tourist facilities have been created along the lakes “Jairon”, “Zikri”, “Khadicha”, “Qoraqir”, “Shurkul”, “Ogitma”. In addition, new tourism projects have been launched in the field of gastronomic tourism in Gijduvan, Vobkent and Jondor districts. For the new projects in the field of agrotourism Bukhara, Romitan and Kagan districtswere chosen. Work is underway in the field of rural tourism in Vobkent and Gijduvan districts, and that of medical tourism in Olot and Peshku districts.
On the opposite of Ark citadel tourist serving object “Bukhara Tower” was established on the basis of historical “Water tower” within the framework of partnership between “Authentic Travel” touristic company and its French partners Catherine Uiterdijk and Teunis Uiterdijk
In 2019, September 27-28 a special “info tour” was organized in Karakul district for tourism industry, mass media representatives and bloggers in order to demonstrate ancient archeological monuments of “Poykent”
In order to extensively promote the tourism potential of Bukhara at international level, tourism industry representatives visited and efficiently participated in international exhibitions and fairs held in foreign countries such as Paris, Berlin, Izmir, Istanbul, Prague, Rome, Minsk, Moscow, Vladimir, Beijing, Chongqing, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Gujarat, Jakarta, East Vesa Tunggar, Kuala Lumpur.
Establishing flights with foreign countries is one of the key factors in the development of tourism. Therefore, for flights from Bukhara International Airport to foreign airports:
The first flight was performed on the route “Tashkent-Kuala-Lumpur-Jakarta-Tashkent” on May 1, 2019;
The first charter flight was performed by Airbus-321 of Turkish airline company “Atlas Global Airlines” from Istanbul to Bukhara On October 31, 2019.
At the same time, since March 20, 2019, the Russian airline SIBIR S7 operates regular flights from Bukhara International Airport on Wednesdays on the Novosibirsk-Bukhara-Novosibirsk route.
Negotiations on performing regular flights are currently underway between the Bukhara international airport and the Russian company “I Fly”, the Kazan international airport, the Fly Dubai airline in the UAE, the Turkish company “Onur Air” and the Kazakh airline “Air Astana”.
It has become a tradition in Bukhara to hold the festivals, particularly “Navruz”, “Nasriddin Effendi”, “Eastern Cuisine”, “Silk and Spices”, “Melon Festival”, “Day of Craftsmen”, “Day of Bukhara City”, and various competitions such as “Skillful Cooks” are among them. Moreover, organizing special festivals and cultural events in each city and district have been launched.
In the field of tourism, 50,000 copies of advertising and handouts have been prepared, as well as an updated tourist map of Bukhara with a circulation of 30,000 copies was published.
A special branch of the prestigious French school of hotel and tourism business “VATEL” has been opened at Bukhara State University. Since 2019, 89 students have been studying, as for 2020 more than 200 young people applied for obtaining education in this area.
In accordance with the instructions given during the visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Bukhara region on March 29-30, 2019 on “Making the Bukhara region a tourist crossroads”, the project of Complex Program of Further Development of Tourism in the Bukhara Region for 2019-2023 was developed.
In accordance with this program, work is underway to accelerate the development of tourism in Bukhara.