Uzbekistan and Belarus organized a forum dedicated to cooperation in the tourism field between the two countries under the topic “Prospects for cooperation between Uzbekistan and Belarus in the field of tourism”. The forum took place in a videoconference format.
The event was organized with assistance from the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Belarus. The main aim of the forum was to promote the tourism potential and the quality of provided services in the sector. It also covered the presentation of national products of Uzbekistan and Belarus.
The forum was attended by the First Deputy Minister of Tourism and Sports Ulugbek Azamov, the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Sports of Belarus Mikhail Portnoy, heads of regional departments of tourism and sports, and representatives of tourism companies and tour operators of Uzbekistan and Belarus.
During the event new open doors policy of Uzbekistan that covers visa-free entry to Uzbekistan for a number of countries, as well as the e-visa system implemented for another number of countries was highlighted and appreciated. Thus, the number of countries with visa-free entry to Uzbekistan has increased to 90 countries, where initially there were only 9. At the same time, 70 countries now have an opportunity to apply for an e-visa / electronic visa online without visiting the Uzbek embassy or consulate in their country.
It was mentioned that after the simplification of visa procedures of Uzbekistan, the country started attracting a significantly higher amount of tourists, where the number of travelers visiting Uzbekistan had reached 6,7 million people in 2019 right before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is 3 times more than the average number of people traveling to Uzbekistan if compared to 2016 when Uzbekistan just started its open-doors policy by implementing visa-free entry and e-visa process for the majority of countries in the world.
Uzbekistan’s success in becoming a host for the 25th General Assembly of UNWTO that will take place in Samarkand in 2023 was also praised by the Deputy Minister of Belarus Mikhail Portnoy.
Uzbekistan and Belarus also discussed the issues of cooperation in the sphere of tourism, perspectives, and the current condition of collaboration in the sector. Both sides agreed that the tourism potential of Uzbekistan and Belarus is not being fully utilized, which means combining efforts actively to enhance mutual cooperation in this regard.
As a result of the meeting, several agreements have been reached and finalized to accomplish, such as activating interaction and collaboration between relevant state institutions and travel companies of Uzbekistan and Belarus, organizing press tours with the aim of increasing the tourists flow in both countries, exchange of experience in various fields and promoting the tourism industry.