Uzbekistan - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-07-08


Located in the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is ready to expand its travel and tourism industry with its rich cultural and historical heritage, friendly people, and natural beauty.  The government of Uzbekistan views its tourism sector as having high growth potential.  Uzbekistan was closed to foreigners for many years, and the government has initiated reforms to open access to its rich cultural and historical heritage to facilitate tourism development.  The tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic in 2020-2021 and hospitality service providers and other sector participants received state support in different forms.  Although the number of foreign tourists visiting Uzbekistan grew by 25% to 1.88 million people in 2021, it has not yet returned to 2019’s pre-pandemic level of 6.75 million visitors.  As of May 2022, Uzbekistan has established a visa-free regime for citizens of 86 countries and e-visas for citizens of 57 countries, including the United States.  The government’s goal is to grow tourism services from $1 billion in 2018 to $2.2 billion in 2025.  This will require massive investments in infrastructure – in February 2021, the President allocated $100 million for tourism infrastructure development - and hospitality education, and attraction of global hotel brands.  The development plan calls for government-subsidized construction of three- and four-star hotels with at least 50 rooms, increasing the total number of rooms from 20,200 (2018) to 64,000 (2025).  Projected investments in the tourism industry of the capital city Tashkent in 2021-2023 amount to $903.6 million ($739.5 million of which are foreign investments) and include 90 projects: 66 hotels, 12 shopping and entertainment centers, 9 parks, and 3 artisan centers.  The government is also developing pilgrimage tourism.  In 2021 Uzbekistan ranked 16th out of 140 countries in the Global Muslim Travel Index.  In 2022 the government updated its plans and set the goal to increase the number of foreign tourists to 9 million and domestic tourists to 12 million, and to invest $300 million in creation of tourism and recreation zones by 2026.  Uzbekistan and Russia are intensifying tourism cooperation, which could reach two million trips per year between the countries.  Moreover, the stoppage of direct flights between Russia and the West may boost air travel of foreigners to and through Uzbekistan. 


To bring in more foreign travelers, the country is modernizing and expanding the airports.  Uzbekistan Airports was separated from the Uzbekistan Airways in 2019 and controls Uzbekistan’s 11 international airports.  The government invested $140 million in the development of airports in 2021, primarily in Samarkand, and will spend $200 million in 2022.  In total $1 billion will be needed by 2026 to meet planned development targets.  Uzbekistan Airports plans to work with private companies for airport reconstruction and management on a tender basis and hopes to double the airports’ passenger throughput capacity and triple load throughput capacity by 2026.  The government has promised to liberalize the national aviation market by breaking up Uzbekistan Airways’ monopoly (pledging to sell 51% or more of its shares through IPO in the near future) and creating more domestic companies (in February 2021, the QanotSharq private airline signed a lease agreement with Air Lease Corporation for two used Airbus A320-200 aircraft; Uzbekistan Airports plans to establish its Silk Avia airline by October 2022 as a partner of Uzbekistan Airways in domestic flights, to meet expanding domestic tourism demand), while authorizing foreign companies to operate in Uzbekistan.  The government intends to purchase short- and medium-haul aircraft to develop the regional passenger air transportation market.  Uzbekistan Airways’ current air fleet consists of 34 aircraft. 


Travel and Tourism Market Size, Million USD 





2022 estimated 

Total Local Production 





Total Exports* 





Total Imports** 





Imports from the US 





Total Market Size 





Exchange Rates*** 





*Earnings of Uzbekistan from incoming tourists. 

**Spending of Uzbekistan citizens on foreign trips. 
*** Exchange Rates = Uzbek soums per $1.   
Units: $ millions 
Source: The State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan.   


Leading Sub-Sectors 

  • Hospitality 

  • Airports 

  • Aircraft 

Foreign investors will find the most opportunities in the hospitality sector.  International hotel brands are currently found only in the capital city of Tashkent, but there is a great demand for hotels and global franchises in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva - the central cities of the ancient Silk Road and major tourism destinations.  The government wants to attract foreign investment and management services to the airports as public-private partnerships with an exemption from customs duties and 50% reduction in income and property taxes for three years.  Uzbekistan’s expansion plans for its fleet of short- and medium-haul aircraft should create business opportunities for manufacturers. 

For specific opportunities, businesses should contact organizations involved in Uzbekistan’s tourism industry, including the State Tourism Development Committee, Uzbekistan Airways, Uzbekistan Airports and Ministry of Transport.   


U.S. companies and individuals interested in learning more about upcoming procurements and export opportunities are encouraged to visit the following websites: