From “Intourist” to “Uzbektourism”

During the Soviet Union, all domestic and international tourism was handled through the Moscow-centered “Intourist” (abbreviation of “international tourist”) company and its branches dispersed throughout the 15 soviet republics.


Intourist promotional brochures


In 1992 following independence, Uzbekistan established its own national company, “Uzbektourism” through which it implemented “a unified state policy in sphere of tourism.”

Uzb tourism RUSUzbek Tourism logo main

Uzbek transportation system went through a series of important upgrades in infrastructure of its airports, railroads and roads. In order to develop the tourism and service industry, the companies providing tourist services were granted tax exemptions and other benefits. The “Uzbektourism” developed its own logo and brand.

The company also developed its official website, where currently visitors can search for information in six languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Korean and Russian (Chinese, Italian and Japanese are in progress).

Uzb tourism web ENGL

In 2013 the company created an advertising campaign to attract more tourists from Europe by running special promotional one minute videos about Uzbekistan on Euronews channel.


According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the number of tourists to Uzbekistan has increased from 92,000 in 1995 to almost 2,000,000 in 2014; and it predicts the number of visitors to increase two-fold by 2025. Based on WTTC 2014 country report, “direct contribution” of tourism sector is 0.9% of total GDP, with “total contribution” of 3.0% to the GDP and total contribution of 387,500 jobs (2.6% of total employment). In the WTTC world ranking, Uzbekistan is placed 119 in absolute and 178 in relative GDP contribution out of 184 countries.

Uzbekistan ranking in the WTTC 2014 country report


Uzbekistan is making a steady progress in its tourism industry but remains low in the world ranking. One of the suggestions to attract more visitors would be to introduce visa free regime to its closest neighbors. However, because of security concerns and territorial  border disputes between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, access to roads and railways across borders is not permitted and blocked (even mined) in some areas. The unresolved issues hinder not only the growth of travel and tourism industry and the overall economic development but also the integration efforts in the region leading to isolation and mistrust between the states.


Sources used:

Aleksandra Kim, Analysis and Perspective of Tourism Development in Uzbekistan (May 2014) University of Santiago de Compostela. Retrieved from

Roman Muzalevsky, Border Disputes in the Ferghana Valley Threaten to Undermine Regional Trade and Stability (August 1, 2014). Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 11 Issue: 141. Retrieved from

National Company “Uzbektourism”

Postcards from Uzbekistan playlist

World Travel & Tourism Council, Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015: Uzbekistan. Retrieved from


3 thoughts on “From “Intourist” to “Uzbektourism”

  1. It is interesting to see how even with Their independence, UZbektourism is still a priority. In many countries such as Cuba, tourism had fallen by the waist side at times until the the lack of resources impacted revenue. What are some security measures that could possibly be taken to counteract the need for visas and still maintain the integrity of each countries’ borders?


  2. Territorial disputes and border issues has always been a problem for the Central Asian countries. Those artificial boundaries created by the Soviet Union left unresolved issues for the locals of each country. I definitely agree that it’s an important and negative factor to the contribution of the region’s political economic government. Especially their relations with one another. It could also affect their relations with other countries, such as Russia and the US.


  3. Tourism can be so beneficial to a country like Uzbekistan and I commend their efforts. But it is difficult to establish a strong foundation for the tourism industry when the infrastructure is unstable. I hope that Uzbekistan can continue its progress with tourism and attract foreigners not only from neighbouring countries, but also from further away. I think simplifying the visa process could make a difference, but it could also open the door to more issues as you noted here.


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