The Center for Policy Research & Outreach (CPRO) at the Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) organized an online-conference dedicated to Agrotourism in Uzbekistan: recover after the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 30 participants attended the online conference, including Bakhrom Pardaev. Head of Eco and Agro-tourism Department of the Uzbek State Committee for Tourism Development, Leonardo Comucci, the Chairman of Santuccio Wine Association (Florence, Italy), Sergey Danilov, the author of the project “Tasty Uzbekistan”, Kobuljon Adilov, the Director of the Foundation “Agro Innovation”, University Rectors as well as Senior Researchers of CPRO at the Westminster International University.
During his welcoming speech, Peter Malvicini, Director of the Center for Policy Research and Outreach of the WUIT noted that interesting and unique opportunities are currently emerging in the field of agrotourism, which have pretty high chances of becoming public domain further on.
Issues of agrotourism in the context of the State strategy of the agricultural sector, supply chain revitalization, research and development of original wine products based on Italian experience have been discussed at the conference. Innovational experience and ideas on the gastronomical branding of the Uzbek cuisine, as well as applying the cluster approach in developing agrotourism have also been addressed during the event.
During her presentation on “Agrotourism as an instrument for developing agricultural territories”, Etenesh B. Asfaw, Senior Research Fellow of the WUIT, talked about the positive impact of developing agrotourism on the growth of GDP in a relatively short time. Thus it offers a number of advantages for producers, and for the whole society as a result. Agrotourism development also benefits the small-scale farming sector, enabling them to stabilize the ыфдфкн, thus providing additional income.
Agrotourism will serve the society by the improvement of roads to plots, construction of residential and commercial complexes, cultural and entertainment centers, organization of catering facilities, sanitary and hygiene centers, as well as developing and enlarging wi-fi covered areas.
Fabrizio Vielmini, Senior Research Fellow of the WUIT shared his ideas on the potential of gastronomical tourism in Uzbekistan on the example of Parkent Region:
“Socio-economic and cultural context is highly important for developing agrotourism in the country, that is why the Parkent region could serve as a great foundation for developing the sector”.
Moreover, the Professor Vielmini mentioned that developing wine tourism and recognizing the region as a gastronomical area on a state level, standing out for wine production, would create a unique so-called “regional image”, due to which Parkent region would be able to stand out of other competitor regions thematically as a result. Wine trips should be organized for tourists, such as visiting the vineyards, tasting and purchasing wine directly from the producers. In order to enhance the capacity, entrepreneurs need to cooperate with tour operators and hotels. A combination of tourism, agriculture and production sectors would enable to create parallel proceedings based on vine cultivation. This would also structure wine routes according to European models, thus helping to create an experience economy.
Additionally, Bakhrom Pardaev. Head of Eco and Agro-tourism Department of the Uzbek State Committee for Tourism Development noted that due to the fact that Uzbekistan is an agricultural country, agrotourism would become an engine for tourism development in the country. He also said that the modern stage of agrotourism requires the following mechanisms to be established and promoted in the region: national voluntary organizations, united farmsteads, agrotourism farms and ventures. Such organizations will need to participate in international associations. A number of internationally certified farmsteads in the agrotourism system, dissemination of information on the enhancement of the sector in Uzbekistan, as well as creating state systems for supporting agrotourism business and developing of its infrastructure would also help significantly.