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08 February 2013 / 01:00

UzA, A.Shakirov, 8 January 2013, 20:38

Correspondent of the Uzbekistan National Information Agency has spoken to the head of the Khorezm regional branch of "Uzbektourism" National Company Odilbek Rakhimov on newly created conditions for tourists, tourist attractions in the region, development of tourist infrastructure. 

 - Rich historical and cultural heritage, ancient monuments, priceless gems are recognized as an integral part of international tourism - says O.Rahimov. - This creates broad opportunies for development of tourism in Khorezm. The region has adopted a targeted program for tourism development and enhancement of tourism potential in 2012-2014, according to which  appropriate measures are being undertaken. Currently we are working on further improvement of the activity of travel companies and expanding the types of services they provide. 

- Could you dwell upon tourism and hospitality companies in the region and their activities? 

- Currently there are 27 hotels, 9 travel companies and agencies. This is a significant improvement taking into account that in 2002 only seven hotels, 4 travel companies and agencies  operated in the region. 

Today the flow of tourists visiting our region has greatly increased. In 2012 more than 40,000 tourists from nearly eighty countries worldwide visited Khorezm. Naturally the increase in the tourist flow requires development of modern forms of tourism and further improvement of the existing infrastructure. Therefore in accordance with the above-mentioned program the number of modern hotels  is planned to be increased. At present three hotels are under construction in Khorezmi street in Urgench, which embodies the elements of both the modern architecture and the national construction traditions. 

-  The region has its problems related to development of tourism. What do you think should be paid attention in order to correct them? 

- It is not an easy task to promote tourism in the world market and to compete with the leading travel companies. This leaves organizations and travel agencies of the "Uzbektourism" National Company the basic problem - opening of new tourist routes, and consequently attracting foreign tourists. 

For this end, there is a necessity for development of cooperation with leading foreign travel companies, promotion of the rich historical and cultural heritage of our people. We need to offer new services and demonstrate the tourism potential of our country at international tourism fairs. Khiva-based "Bek-tour», «Mitra TraveL», «Vista Travel.LTD» companies are succeeding in this direction. Recently, they were joined by another «Javhar Hulkar yulduzi» company, based in Urgench. 

The task of preparing personnel for the sector and skills development remains urgent. The economic department of the Urgench State University has established courses for tourism and hospitality specialists. 

We are also looking into training of guides and interpreters, improving their skills. The regional branch of educational centre of Uzbektourism NC recently opened here.

- What new routes can you offer to tourists arriving in Khorezm? 

The region has 255 cultural heritage sites, of which 18 are archaeological sites, 133 architectural, 66 sculptural monuments, 32 sacred places of worship. Currently, historical landmarks located in Khiva and Urgench - the walls of Karvonsaroy, Hazorasp, Kalazhik, Cut Kal'a fortresses are being reconstructed with the funds allocated from the state budget. Local theater and souvenir shop have been rebuilt. 

We are also focusing on domestic tourism. First of all, we need to develop a historical awareness in people, a sense of pride in the ancient and unique city of the country, in their unique historical and cultural monuments, national customs and traditions. All this, of course, will further strengthen the tourism potential of Khorezm.