d5032f4eb9eac12990009ce928d02713The first ever free tourist zone is likely to be established in Uzbekistan in the next three years.

The State Committee for Tourism, municipality of Bukhara region and the National Bank for Foreign Economic Relations have developed proposals on the establishment of a free tourist zone.

The new zone will be built in the heart of Bukhara and be entitled Bokiy Bukhoro (Eternal Bukhara). It is envisaged to build various class hotels there, entertainment and trade facilities, including an amphitheater for 500 seats, bowling clubs, dance clubs, souvenir and other kinds of shops, karaoke bars, cafes and restaurants offering national and world’s popular cuisines.

Creation of a tourist zone requires establishment of an investment company with the participation of foreign partners to act as main donors of the project in partnership with the National Bank. The tourist zone will be subject to the entire list of benefits provided for free economic zones to attract foreign companies, that is, it will be completely exempt from virtually all taxes and customs payments, depending on the amount invested.

It is scheduled to launch construction works as early as 1 July 2017, and ensure the commissioning of first-stage facilities by March 2018.

Another interesting initiative comes to construction of the first handicraft cluster in the historical part of Bukhara on the territory of the Shahristan market. It is envisaged to be a block of artisans and an indoor market consisting of two-storey buildings with traditional handicraft workshops, stores and small shops of national souvenirs, books, gold embroidery articles, fruits and vegetables, sweets and other products that are popular among tourists.

Asaka Bank will be the main financial donor of the project. It will establish a subsidiary investment company, build its charter capital and staff it with qualified personnel. Local architects and masters who have the experience of building similar structures using the traditions of national architecture will be involved in the design and construction of facilities.

Places in the cluster will be sold to artisans through commercial and mortgage lending. The cluster and the Bokiy Bukhoro zone will provide free Wi-Fi.

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