Monday, June 18, 2012 -
Uzbekistan’s top diplomat to Malaysia said Monday his government places great importance on studying the experience of advanced countries in developing tourism.
The Tashkent government is keen to learn from Malaysia “on how to increase the number of foreign tourists to Uzbekistan,” said Uzbek ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Shukur Sabitov, the Bernama news agency reported.
“As a young independent state, tourism is important to us,” Sabitov told the local media outlet in an interview.
The Kuala Lumpur government has arranged the visit to Uzbekistan of dozens of Malaysian tourism and investment leaders through “Infotours”, established to promote Uzbekistan as a potential international tourism market.
The next familiarization trip to the Central Asian republic begins Friday and lasts a week.
Uzbekistan has a large number of historical monuments and sites – some of them recognized by UNESCO – in and around the fabled Silk Route cities of Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand. The cities themselves date back 2,500 years.
Some 20 Malaysian firms are currently operating in Uzbekistan, including leading state-run oil and gas company Petronas.
The ambassador voiced hope that tourist earnings will generate a greater portion of the two countries’ bilateral trade.
“We are targeting bilateral trade to reach $80 million this year,” he said.