As it was reported earlier, on the invitation of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov arrived October 7 in our country with an official visit.
The main events of the visit took place on October 8.
The official ceremony of meeting the President of Turkmenistan took place at the Kuksaroy residence. Islam Karimov and Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov walked through the honorary squad that lined up in tribute to the leaders of our two nations.
The relations between the Uzbek and Turkmen peoples in the years of independence have been enriched with new content. Today, the bilateral ties are evolving steadily on the basis of the interstate agreement on boosting the friendly relations and comprehensive cooperation signed in 2007.
The friendship, mutual respect and trust between the Presidents of the two countries are instrumental in the advancement of bonds between the two nations. The two heads of state meet regularly and exchange views on strengthening and further expansion of cooperation. President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov was awarded the international prize of Turkmenistan named after Makhtumkuli for his outstanding merits in the consolidation of bilateral relations, development of friendship and cultural cooperation between the two peoples.
The President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, in his turn, for his contribution to cementing the friendly and good neighborly relations between our peoples, to the development of mutually beneficial and fruitful cooperation was awarded the Mustaliqillik Order of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
During talks in a contracted format Islam Karimov and Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov discussed the current state and prospects of further development of cooperation between the two countries, exchanged views on topical issues pertaining to regional and international affairs.
Uzbekistan’s President pointed out that the visit of the head of Turkmenistan is a remarkable political event in the history of relations between our two nations and shows the dynamic advancement of interaction built on good neighborly relations.
The President of Turkmenistan, in his turn, expressed gratitude to the head of our state for the invitation and stressed that the cooperation between the two countries has been consistently consolidating across all spheres.
The relations between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been evolving on the basis of principles of mutual confidence, respect for interests, and reciprocal support at the international arena. The positions of the two sides are similar or close on all pressing issues of global and regional nature. The foreign policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan proceeds from the principle of the sovereign equality of states, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of borders, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and other universally acknowledged principles and norms of international law. Turkmenistan adheres to a foreign policy based on the principles of neutrality, peacefulness, good neighborliness.
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been making a remarkable input into the achievement of peace and stability in the neighboring Afghanistan.
While exchanging views on the situation in that country, the heads of two states stressed again the impossibility of the establishment of peace there with the use of force. Among the issues discussed also were those concerning the interaction in addressing such threats as terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking.
Our two countries also entertain a single position when it comes to the use of the waters of trans-boundary rivers. As it was underscored, the issues related to the water and energy sphere ought to be considered on the basis of universally recognized norms and principles of international law, with consideration of the interests of all nations of the region and with the participation of international organizations. It was said that while addressing the construction of major hydropower facilities on trans-boundary rivers, it is imperative to fully comply with the requirements of pertinent conventions of the United Nations.
The presidents continued talks in an expanded format with the participation of official delegations of the two countries. The main attention was focused on issues concerning further development of trade-economic, investment and cultural cooperation.
The volume of trade turnover between our two countries has been consistently growing. Over the past six years, the figure multiplied threefold, which amounted to 413 million dollars in 2014, while in January-August of the current year it reached 245 million dollars. Uzbek to exports Turkmenistan include vehicles, mineral fertilizers, agricultural goods, construction materials, electrical and mechanical equipment, metal produce, and services in various fields. Our country imports from Turkmenistan petroleum products, polymers of propylene and other goods of the chemical industry.
Economic potential of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan creates the opportunity to further expand the scope of cooperation. According to the 2012 intergovernmental agreement on mutual supplies, and the treaty on economic cooperation for 2013-2017, steadfast efforts are undertaken to further diversify the structure of the mutual trade and boost its volumes.
Another priority direction of cooperation between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan is transport and communications. Cargo transportation to Turkmenistan is carried out through the territory of Uzbekistan, and vice versa. Automobile highways and railroads of our countries constitute a well integrated system and offers opportunities to third countries for effective transit services. In this sense, the 2011 agreement on the construction of a new international transport-communication corridor Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman as a practical implementation of the initiatives of President Islam Karimov has a geostrategic importance.
Both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are rich in hydrocarbon resources. Their export requires a coordinated effort. This close collaboration creates opportunities for our countries to diversify energy sectors and access to global markets. A striking example the gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China commissioned in 2009 and which has been increasingly expanding its capacities.
Among the issues discussed during the talks were those concerning bolstering the trade turnover, raising the number of joint enterprises, boosting the interaction between businesspeople.
The history and culture of the Uzbek and Turkmen peoples share common traits, similar traditions and customs. The scientific and artistic legacy of our ancestors is the common heritage of both peoples. This proximity provides a solid base for the development of cooperation in cultural-humanitarian sphere. In the framework of the program of cooperation in cultural sphere for 2014-2016, athletes, figures of culture and arts of the two countries have been active in a diversity of music concerts, festivals and exhibitions, as well as sporting events held in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Collaboration in the academic field has been advancing, as well. Our scholars conduct joint research in agriculture, petrochemical and other industries.
Our countries wield immense potential also in the tourism sector. In the framework of the Great Silk Road project, combined trip are organized. Representatives of Uzbekistan took part the international exhibition and conference “Tourism and Travel” held in September in the city of Turkmenbashi. At the recent twenty-first Tashkent International Tourism Fair “Tourism on the Silk Road” Turkmen companies reached deals with Uzbek partners to enlarge relations on this front and organize joint tours.
Following the talks, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov signed a joint statement. The governments, ministries and agencies of the two countries signed documents to steadily augment relations in economy, transport, customs, tourism, science and technology, health and sports.
At a meeting with representatives of mass media, the two Presidents noted that the visit constituted a continuation of the constructive dialogue at the highest level based on mutual respect, trust and interest, and that is has offered a convenient opportunity for the discussion of pressing issues in bilateral relations, exchange views on regional and international topics. It was stressed that the talks were held in an atmosphere of openness and mutual understanding and that the documents signed will serve for the further development of multifaceted friendly relations with an eye to the interests of the peoples of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
In the afternoon, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov visited the Mustaqillik (Independence) Square. The high-ranking guest laid flowers to the Monument of Independence and Humanism, a symbol of our freedom, bright future and noble aspirations. Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov noted that this area – with its pleasing microclimate – has turned into a solid year-round green area that symbolizes the peace and prosperity prevailing in Uzbekistan and epitomizes the ongoing creative and construction works undertaken in the country. Turkmenistan’s President got acquainted with the Memory Square located nearby.
The two heads of state visited the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent. The magnificent complex, its architectural design, and the state-of-the-art facilities and amenities created for athletes and spectators left a great impression on the distinguished guest.
The two leaders also traveled to the Minor Mosque built in our capital city. Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov said the mosque combines national architectural traditions and modern art styles.
The official visit of the Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov to Uzbekistan ended in that high disposition. The negotiations held and the agreements reached will definitely afford a greater dynamism to the development of cooperation between our countries tested by the time.
Tourism has made a giant leap forward over the past two decades, owing primarily to two factors. It was a paradigm shift, which has turned it from a beautiful fairy tale for travelers into a highly profitable business with the widespread introduction of information technologies. Meanwhile, today it faces new challenges. Uzbekistan Today reporters tried to find the ways out and define the position of Uzbekistan in the global market during the region’s largest tourism fair ‘Tourism on the Silk Road-2015’.
FROM ROMANTICS TO PRAGMATICS
30 years ago the world tourism industry was largely romanticized and represented by bright but scattered oases, each promoting its own brand, often competing with domestic rivals rather than with other world centers of tourism. For example, Rome was challenged by Milan, Paris by Nice, and so on.
Today, the situation has changed. The market is a competition of not certain tourist brands, but the whole states. What has made a change in the approach? The answer is simple – it is all about huge profits. According to the World Tourism Organization, the total income from international tourism in 2014 exceeded $1.5 trillion. It grew by $48 billion in just a year. The expenditures of international tourists for accommodation, food, entertainment and shopping have brought the tourism industry more than $1.24 billion.
The figures have been growing rapidly. In January – June 2015, tourist destinations around the world have received nearly 538 million tourists, which is 21 million more YOY. Experts expect that more than 1.8 billion people will travel all over the world every year by 2030. This suggests the toughened competition in the market. Uzbekistan has every opportunity of becoming not just noticeable, but a global player in the tourism market. There are more than 7,000 monuments of different epochs and civilizations and 110 international tourist routes in the country. Over the past three years the number of foreign tourists has increased by more than 30%, and the tourism export has grown three times over.
This is the outcome of a well-designed program on promoting the Uzbek tourism brand in the international market. Since 2011, Uzbekistan has been practicing a policy of conducting information tours with the involvement of representatives of foreign media and tourism companies, which has already proved its effectiveness. Every year, the project involves more than three hundred representatives of tourism and media from different countries.
Partnerships with big international TV channels like Euronews, BS-Asahi, World Travel, Russia-1 and many others have been actively expanding. They broadcast author’s documentaries on traditions and customs of Uzbekistan, showing the local uniqueness to millions of potential tourists.
The cooperation with Euronews TV channel has been particularly successful: it was selected after a thorough marketing study of tourist flows to Uzbekistan. The channel broadcasts news, cultural, research and other programs 24 hours a day in 13 languages in 155 countries around the world, making special emphasis on Europe and on the increase of the tourist flow from the region.
During the fruitful cooperation Euronews showed programs on Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent and Khiva. Millions of spectators in different countries learned about the Silk Road and Uzbek ancient cities, which used to be a part of it, its sites and monuments.
A new phase of cooperation was launched a few days ago. A Euronews film crew has arrived in Tashkent to work on a series of new stories about tourist attractions of Uzbekistan. It will focus on ancient cities of Uzbekistan, traditions and customs of the Uzbek people and, certainly on the cuisine. There are agreements on the production of three 5-minute videos about the ancient cities of the East: Samarkand, Bukhara and Termez. In addition, it is planned to release six demos one minute each on the unique Uzbek crafts.
There is another interesting example – a story of Bukhara by the British company ‘Pioneer Productions’ will become part of a documentary series for ‘Discovery Networks International’.
The results of this work can be evaluated in a few years. Meanwhile, today the flow of tourists to Uzbekistan is growing rapidly year by year. In the first half of 2015, Uzbekistan has received 950,700 foreign guests, which is 7% more YOY.
The data in the World Tourism Organization report on ‘Uzbekistan through the Eyes of Tourists’ is also impressive. Representatives of Russia, Turkey, India, Germany and South Korea have become the most active foreign guests in Uzbekistan. The average age group of travelers is above 50. Most of them have higher education, they pre-plan their vacation, buy a travel package and book a hotel.
77% of respondents noted that their choice of Uzbekistan as a tourism destination was driven by a desire to see unique historical monuments included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Most visitors have picked up all the related information in the Internet.
The interest in the Silk Road brand ranks high among other travel motivators. 81% of respondents named it among other interests. Some others come to Uzbekistan to learn more about famous cuisine, traditions and customs of the Uzbek people.
The average length of stay in our country makes up ten days, during which most of the tourists visit the three pearls – Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent.
Prices are another attractive point for travelers. 72% of respondents called them acceptable. Therefore, most of the guests come home with big bags of souvenirs – metal chasing, articles of traditional Uzbek fabrics, jewelry, decorative knives, ceramic items, etc.
Uzbekistan Airways (56%), Turkish Airlines (14%) and Aeroflot (9%) are the three top carriers that have been creating the most comfortable conditions for tourists on their way to our country.
It is noteworthy that 83% of travelers have rated Uzbekistan as a safe country for tourists, and 76% of them have recommended visiting the country to their friends. 89% of guests have distinguished hospitality as the main feature of the Uzbek people.
TASTY, STYLISH AND BRIGHT
This is the best way to feature the exuberant and colorful three-day event in the metropolitan Uzexpocentre under the Tashkent International Tourism Fair ‘Tourism on the Silk Road-2015’. Aromas of oriental dishes, delicious sweets, and unique samples of craft works have been attracting tourists from all over the world and industry experts for the last 20 years.
The total area of this year’s exposition has exceeded 2,000 square meters, not taking into account the outdoor area of Uzexpocentre, which hosted a festival of national dishes. It has brought together more than 700 companies from among traditional partners – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, India and Thailand, as well as the newcomers like Dominican Republic, Spain, Singapore, France, Latvia, Slovakia and other states.
Master classes of outstanding local craftsmen drew the interest of the visitors and foreign tourists for the unique opportunity of being involved in the process of making various handicraft items. For example, the stand of the Kashkadarya region invited the guests to express their fantasy in making ceramic articles, and the Andijan stand – in making national Uzbek dolls.
Business agenda was extensive as never before. Organized in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization, the international conference on the preservation of cultural heritage and its contribution to the development of tourism in Uzbekistan was a central point of the agenda. Experts, representatives of diplomatic corps and international organizations, critics, well-known researchers, and executives of tourism companies discussed prospects of cooperation and new ways to stimulate demand for tourism products.
A popular specialized program of Hosted Buyers was part of the agenda as well. It is about B2B meetings between the representatives of domestic and foreign travel agencies. This year it has been attended by representatives of over 50 organizations from Great Britain, Germany, Israel, India, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and the United States that specialize in international tourism.
COMFORT AS A PRIORITY
Modern hotels, shopping centers, recreation areas have been dramatically improving their service. There are 548 hotels and accommodation facilities throughout the country, including well-known global hotel brands like Lotte, Radisson, Wyndham, Miran.
Several premieres in the field will be presented to the guests in the coming years. For example, a network of Japanese low-cost hotels ‘Toyoko-inn’ is currently considering the construction of its hotels in Uzbekistan. This is a very specific hotel chain, with small rooms designed primarily for business tourism. ‘Uzbektourism’ and ‘Toyoko-inn’ are currently actively negotiating on the details.
In mid-September, the Uzbek delegation visited Japan to clarify the details of joint cooperation. According to ‘Uzbektourism’, a foreign investor has not yet decided whether it is going to build new facilities or manage the existing hotels after their reconstruction.
Besides, specialists have embarked on the development of a feasibility study of the project on reconstruction of the International Hotel Tashkent under the requirements of the well-known Hilton management network. A preliminary agreement was signed last year. The modernization implies big investments. To date, several types of rooms have been already prepared in line with the Hilton standards.
Last week, a line was drawn under the protracted saga of building a five-star ‘Hyatt Regency Hotel’ in the center of Tashkent. The Government has resolved to finance its completion at the expense of accumulative pension system.
The opening of the hotel is scheduled for July 2016. Its total cost will make up $205 million, and the hotel stock will number 305 rooms. The ‘Hyatt International’ will provide technical advisory services during the construction and equipping the holte, and manage it after it will have been launched.
The National Bank will allocate 100 billion soums for a period of five years and an annual interest rate of 9% for the completion of the hotel, and the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy will envisage allocation of another 77.4 billion soums next year(currency rates of CB RU from 12.10.2015 1$= 2635.08 soums).
To date, the parties have selected a supplier of modern hotel equipment and inventory, as well as a sub-contractor to perform the engineering and finishing works. They are carried out by the Turkish company ‘Apeas Muhendislik Insaat Taahhut ve Dis Ticaret’.
THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE
Tourists need to be constantly surprised by something new, which is within Uzbekistan’s power. In September, residents and guests of Samarkand witnessed a truly grand spectacle – a unique 3D-mapping light show was demonstrated for the first time in Central Asia to crown the Tenth Anniversary of the International Music Festival ‘Sharq Taronalari’ on the Registan Square.
Unlike other entertainment shows that have been demonstrated in major cities of Europe and the United States, the performance on Registan Square was based on historic facts and events. Uzbekistan has become the first country in the world to show light and music performances in 3D format, which is distinguished by enlightenment and introduction of the audience to the cultural and historical heritage.
A park with a unique ancient stone forest is currently being created in the Jaraquduq tract of Uchquduq district for the lovers of extreme and ecological tourism. Similar areas have been preserved only in Chile and Bulgaria. Petrified trunks of ancient forests resemble organ pipes – the wood has mineralized under the impact of time and natural clamities.
There is much to see in the capital too. A new recreation park is currently being built in the center of Tashkent, promising to become the region’s leader at least in terms of the largest diversity of attractions. It will also offer a carting area of 12,000 square meters to be the biggest in the CIS. The cars will be manufactured in Germany specifically for this site.
There is a separate area for a future restaurant, which will welcome its guests with national dishes, a summer theater for gala concerts and events, as well as an artificial pond with a water table area of 1810 square meters with catamarans. In addition, it is planned to create architectural models of seven major historical sites and symbols of the cities of Uzbekistan.
(Source: IA «Uzbekistan Today»)
Three members of Uzbekistan national team progressed to the finals of the AIBA World Championship, which is taking place in Doha, Qatar.
Murodjon Ahmadaliev defeated Shiva Thapa of India in the weight category of 56 kg with the points 3-0 and advanced to finals.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov outplayed Wuttichai Masuk of Thailand to book his berth in the finals of the AIBA World Championship in the weight category of 64 kg. He won with the score 3-0.
In the weight category of 75 kg, Bektemir Melikuziev beat Michael Orielly of Ireland to advance to the finals of the tournament.
On 12 October, three more Uzbek boxers will participate in semifinal bouts of the AIBA World Championship.
Eldor Rasulov (81 kg) will meet Joseph Ward of Ireland, Elnur Abduraimov (60 kg) will face Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba. Bakhodir Jalalov (+91 kg) will entertain Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan.
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