Khokim of Bukhara region met with the Minister of Tourism of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to discuss perspectives on cooperation in pilgrimage tourism between the countries.
The delegation of the Bukhara region, headed by Khokim Botir Zaripov, who is on a visit to Kuala Lumpur, held talks with the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia Nancy Shukri and the Director General of the Islamic Tourism Center under the Ministry Razip Hassan.
During the meeting, the parties noted the successful development of cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Uzbekistan and Malaysia and the perspectives of further intensifying ties in the field of tourism with the Bukhara region.
Nancy Shukri highly appreciated the measures taken by the Government of our country to develop and modernize the tourism infrastructure of Uzbekistan against the background of the negative consequences of the pandemic on the economy and hospitality industry of other countries. In this context, the Malaysian side congratulated the Uzbek partners on the opening of the International Tourism Center "The Great Silk Road" in Samarkand, which will serve to strengthen the status of Samarkand city as the "Tourist Gate of New Uzbekistan".
The minister welcomed the initiative of Uzbekistan to send a delegation of imams of the country to conduct sermons in the central mosques of Kuala Lumpur, which helps to popularize the spiritual heritage and potential of ziarat tourism / pilgrimage tourism of Uzbekistan among the Muslim community in Malaysia.
The Malaysian side was familiarized with the plans to transform Bukhara into one of the regional tourist hubs and create a new international tourism cluster to increase the tourist flow to Bukhara region.
Agreements were reached on cooperation between Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Airport and Bukhara International Airport, as well as on other important issues.
According to Nancy Shukri, “To achieve Uzbekistan’s ambitious goals of increasing the number of tourists from Malaysia to 200 thousand, it is critical to launch direct flights to Bukhara at affordable prices and radically increase the frequency of flights by the national air carrier to at least 3 times daily.”
The Malaysian side also emphasized the need to develop and launch large-scale targeted advertising campaigns by the Ministry of Tourism of Uzbekistan and interested regional khokimiyats to increase the recognition of the republic among the public. Nancy Shukri gave an analogy to the global marketing campaigns of Malaysia under the brand "Malaysia Truly Asia", actively promoted in many countries by the tourism promotion agency "Tourism Malaysia" under the Ministry of Tourism of the country.
The Director General of the Center for Islamic Tourism, Razip Hasan, praised the rapid growth of Uzbekistan in the Global Muslim Tourism Index, which ranked 9th among 138 countries in 2022. Emphasizing that Malaysia traditionally occupies a leading position in this ranking, Razip Hasan reaffirmed his readiness to establish an exchange of the country's best practices in this area. One of the options for cooperation in this direction could be the launch of a permanent program "Joint seminar on ziarat tourism", which provides for the annual organization of special training courses alternately in both countries.
As a result, agreements were reached:
- on the participation of Malaysian representatives in the Ziarat Tourism Week in Uzbekistan and the annual Tashkent International Tourism Fair in November of this year;
- organization in the near future of the Ministry of Tourism and the Khokimiyat of the Bukhara region of fact-finding info-tours to Uzbekistan for Malaysian travel companies;
- exchange of best practices in the development of Muslim tourism standards and the creation of ziarat tourism products, organization of training courses for representatives of the republic together with the Center for Islamic Tourism.