From the outset of Independence, Uzbekistan has been following its own course of development - the Uzbek Model - of transition to socially oriented market economy based on five key principles developed by President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov: the priority of economics over politics; the state is the main reformer; the rule of law in all areas of life of the society; strong social policy; a step-by-step transition to market relations.
Thanks to successful implementation of this model, today, Uzbekistan has achieved the following milestones:
- macroeconomic stability, equilibrium of domestic and foreign sectors of economy, growth of currency reserves;
- framework for maintaining steady high rates of annual economic growth by 8% at average, predominantly, thanks to internal factors;
-reduction of aggregate tax burden almost 3 times, while the State is providing additional packages of preferences to exporting enterprises, small businesses and entities that increase their investments and introduce new production;
- creation of sustainable banking and finance systems with strict observance of Basel principles of banking supervision. In particular, the degree of sufficiency of banking capital is more than 23%, which is almost 3 times higher of international standards;
- development of new high tech industries through intensive investment policy, technological modernization of industrial facilities and production infrastructures.
The anti-crises measures adopted by the Government allowed the country among few states of the world to ensure for the past period steady economic growth rates over 8 percent.
During the years of independence Uzbekistan has created a broad spectrum of legal guarantees and preferences for foreign investors, developed integral system of measures on encouragement of activity of enterprises with foreign investments.
The state guarantees and protects the rights of foreign investors which carry out investment activity within the Republic of Uzbekistan. In the event, the consequent legislation of Uzbekistan makes investment environment less favorable, then within 10 years from the moment of investment foreign investors will use the legislation, which was in effect as of the date of investment. Upon its discretion, after notifying the authorities, the foreign investor is entitled to apply those provisions of a new legislation which make the investment environment more favorable.
Moreover, in some cases, foreign investors could be provided with additional guarantees and measures of protection of rights in case of investment into priority industries or projects, which ensure sustainable economic growth, strengthening and enhancing export potential of the country, projects in the field of small enterprises.
Since 2001 ≪one stop shop≫ has been put in place which simplifies a system of state registration of legal entities. In other words, for the newly established enterprises, all approval procedures are provided with only one instance within 3 business days.
As a result of coherent efforts of the Government in creating favorable conditions for foreign investors, many world-known companies have firmly established their presence in Uzbekistan. Among them General Motors, MAN, Knauf, Itochu, Rieter, Klaas, Nestle, Coca-Cola, KOGAS, LG, Lotte, Korea Telecom, Ariston, CNPC, Ondorama, Gazprom, Lukoil, etc. The total number of enterprises with foreign investments has exceeded 5000.
Over the recent years, the Government has pursued a consistent policy on significant reduction of tax burden for both legal entities and individuals. Unprecedented tax incentives are provided to enterprises which carry out production activity within Navoi Free Industrial Economic Zone, Angren Free Industrial Zone and Djizak Free Industrial Zones that have been established at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. These incentives include exemption practically from all types of taxes and customs duties imposed in the Republic of Uzbekistan, which makes Free Industrial Economic Zone in these three cities one of the most liberal and attractive free economic zones in the world.
Uzbekistan is one of the leading countries of the world in terms of reserves of gold, uranium, copper, silver, zinc, tungsten, rare metals, natural gas, coal and fossil minerals. It’s the country, which for many years ahead ensured its energy security.
Access to broad spectrum of commodities maximum optimizes the production costs through significant reduction of transportation costs for commodities and raw materials, creates capabilities for deep processing with production of products with high value added and the level of localization of more than 50%.
Uzbekistan discovered more than 2,800 deposits and prospective depositions of minerals, with total mineral-feed potential of the country to be about US$ 3.5 trillions.
On many categories, including non-ore and metallic minerals, agricultural commodities, Uzbekistan is one of the leading countries in the world. In particular, on copper reserves it’s 11th largest, on gold production - 7th, uranium - 7th, production of cotton fiber - 5th.
The Republic of Uzbekistan, is among TOP 10 countries of the world on reserves of gas, coal, uranium and is exporting them. Aggregate reserves of energy carriers of Uzbekistan are sufficient to satisfy demands of the economy at least for 100 years.
Electrical power generated in Uzbekistan fully covers growing needs of the country and on its cost is 4 times lower of average price paid by the industrial consumers in developed countries.
Unlimited potential of alternative sources of energy creates additional capacities. This includes solar, wind, derived as a result of recycling of solid household wastes, which allows generation of more than 51 billion tons of oil equivalent.
Uzbekistan is the crossroads of Central Asia, which creates favorable environment for the development of regional cooperation, participation in regional and transnational projects on development of transport corridors. It’s free trade zone with the CIS countries.
Proximity to broad customer markets and developed transport infrastructure of Uzbekistan, integrated into multimodal system of communications of Eurasia, predetermines perspectives of investment, trade and economic cooperation. Foreign companies investing in Uzbekistan, get access to the 5 largest and the most dynamically developing markets: CIS with the customer market of more than 300 million people, Central and Eastern Europe, South and South East Asia, Middle East.
Favorable geographic location on the intersection of all trade routes among above regions, developed multimodal network, covering the markets, located far outside of Central Asia, including Eastern part of the Middle East, Northern part of India and Western part of China, is an important competitive advantage, which allows to significantly reduce the time and costs of delivery of cargoes through the territory of Uzbekistan.
Today, Uzbekistan is creating all necessary conditions for further development and increase of transit potential. The country is constructing new main railway line and highway inside the country, renovating international main transit railway lines and highways, modernizing international airports, creating specialized international transport terminals, developing corresponding legal framework.
The treaties on creation of the MFN in trade with 45 countries of the world including Japan, China, USA, Korea, EU and Free Trade Zone established among the CIS signatory states, allows to significantly increase the competitiveness of Uzbekistan’s products on foreign markets.
All-in-all, the Republic of Uzbekistan can offer foreign investors not only vast natural wealth, favorable business environment, developed infrastructure, highly educated manpower, but, most importantly, political and economic stability that can be a solid foundation for expanding the horizons of mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign partners.
Uzbekistan unleashing its tourist potential
Since Uzbekistan’s Independence its tourism industry has been coherently developing. Large-scale reforms that have been carried out by the government resulted in thoroughgoing changes in tourism infrastructure. New tourism directions have been developed, modern hotels have been constructed, ancient historical monuments and shrines for pilgrimage have been restored, a number of new highways have been laid out.
Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov addressing the opening ceremony of the 99th session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization taken place in October last year in Samarkand City stated that, "when we talk about Uzbekistan's enormous tourist potential, first thing that comes to mind are the most ancient civilization and culture that emerged and developed in the area, rock paintings and petroglyphs, unique historical monuments, majestic and unique samples of material culture and architecture. All this can and must transform our country into one of the centers of world tourism".
Over the past three years the number of foreign tourists visiting Uzbekistan increased by more than 30 percent, while export to the tourism industry has grown three times. It has been achieved as the result of intensive work carried out by the National Company "Uzbektourism" aimed at promoting national tourist services on the global market.
Since 2011 "Mega-Info-Tours" - free introductory tours - have been held in Uzbekistan. Every year, more than three hundred representatives of media and tourist companies from different countries participate in this project which allows to expand their partnerships with international channels, including “Euronews”, “BS-Asahi”, “World Travel”, “Russia 1” and others.
Fruitful cooperation with the world famous TV channel “Euronews” has been established, whose news, cultural, scientific and other programs are broadcasted 24 hours in 13 languages in 155 countries of the world. Last year the channel broadcasted the opening ceremony of the 99th session of the UNWTO EC, aired three programs about Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. This year it launched of a new rubric “City-tour” dedicated to tourism potential of Tashkent. At the same time, millions of viewers in different countries learned about the sights, architectural monuments of our cities that were part of the Great Silk Road.
In March 2015, 158 foreign guests participated in travel program of “Mega-Info-Tours” that was organized jointly with the embassies of Uzbekistan and supported by leading private travel agencies of the Republic and State Company “Uzbektourism”.
Major changes in the tourist life in the country took place in 2014. Uzbekistan showed its huge potential in the industry even more confidently on the international arena. Local tourist organizations became regular participants of large specialized international exhibitions. Stands of Uzbekistan generated great interest in the exposures in Madrid, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, Rome and Tokyo.
Since the beginning of this year, “Uzbektourism” has participated in dozens of international exhibitions and events, including “FITUR-2015” (Spain), “EMITT 2015” (TURKEY) and “ITB 2015” (Germany). The company has demonstrated the rich tourist potential of the country and held talks with top management of the UNWTO, heads of tourism administrations of the Member States of the Executive Board of the organization, specialized companies interested in sending tourists to Uzbekistan and participation in international tourism fairs held in Uzbekistan.
For example, there was a major presentation entitled “Uzbekistan on the Silk Road” in the framework of “FITUR-2015” held in Madrid and the national stand of Uzbekistan was awarded the title of best in the category of “Country Stand”. The participants familiarized with a unique historical and cultural heritage and traditions of the Uzbek people, natural resources and tourist attractions.
A representative of the Spanish travel company ≪Irbis Viajes≫, Luis Martinez, in his commentary about Uzbekistan's tourist potential wrote, "Uzbekistan, which the cradle of civilization, is very attractive for tourists from around the world. Openness and hospitality of the Uzbek people leave an unforgettable impression on visitors".
In January, a French journalist, Marie-Angelique Ozan, published an article entitled “Uzbekistan: the caravan of craftsmen” in “Le Figaro Magazine”, which tells the readers about our country and its rich heritage. "Uzbekistan is not only famous for its beautiful architectural monuments, but also with a treasure of national applied arts - products of craftsmen, potters, gold masters, miniature artists and weavers. They inspire the connoisseurs of beauty and travelers around the world, attracting the exotic East "- she writes.
Last April the tourist potential of the country was presented in Indonesia and in the International Tourism Fair "Natas Fair 2015" in Singapore. A road-show in Jakarta was held in three stages: the bilateral negotiations in the "B2B" format between travel agencies of both countries, the general presentation of Uzbekistan as one of the tourist centers and slideshows of popular tourism companies in Indonesia. One of the key outcomes of these events was a significant increase in the number of tourists to Uzbekistan from South-East Asia after the opening of regular flights between Singapore and Tashkent.
In 2013, "Uzbektourism" together with the relevant ministries, agencies and the Municipality of Tashkent City held an International Uzbek Tourism Exhibition "World of Rest" (IUTE). A year later, as part of this event International scientific-practical seminar of UNWTO on gastronomic tourism and pilaf festival "Pilaf Fest" were organized. This year the leading tour operators, hotels and administration of regions of Uzbekistan, as well as national administrations and private tourist companies from abroad - over 147 companies from 30 countries - presented their programs on coming tourist season. Participants discussed the current state of the tourism market of the region and its potential, established new business relations, strengthened old ties.
During the exhibition an international conference - "Prospects of development of gastronomic tourism in Uzbekistan" - was organized with the support of the World Tourism Organization. The results of the survey on priorities for 2016-2017 in tourist destinations in member countries of the UNWTO show that gastronomic tourism is one of the most important tourist direction. As a result, the UNWTO decided to establish the Network of gastronomic tourism as part of its program. Our country has acted as one of its initiators.
"Culinary tourism is about 30 percent of tourist spending on the global level, and gastronomy is an important element of the local culture and identity", - said an UNWTO expert, Director of the Spanish company ≪Aprende de Turismo≫ Raul Garcia Gonzalez. "It contains a significant potential to increase tourism offers in each region by concentrating attention on the promotion and improvement of its traditional cuisine".
A practical step towards the formation of the country's gastronomic tourism became a national food festival "A Taste of the Silk Road." In this year's event the best chefs from different regions of the country have shown the national traditions and peculiarities of preparation of dishes of Uzbek cuisine to foreign visitors.
For the development of event tourism in Uzbekistan the "Uzbektourism" developed a regularly updated "Calendar of tourist events" of various activities. In December 2014, preliminary version of the calendar for 2015 appeared on the official website of the company, and the final version was posted on the website - welcomeuzbekistan.uz - with proposals of agencies and travel companies. This resource was launched in 2013. Overseas travel companies and tourists can find all the information on upcoming trip to our country. Currently, the information is available in six languages - Russian, English, German, Spanish, French and Korean, but soon the portal Italian, Chinese and Japanese languages will be available too.
Uzbekistan is strongly committed to continue vigorously stimulating the development of tourism and expanding cooperation with foreign partners in this field to strengthen its position on the international tourism market by attracting more visitors to the ancient and fabulous cities of the Great Silk Road - Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, as well as to promoting other historical monuments of the country