Uzbekistan - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism
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Located in the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan — with its rich cultural and historical heritage, friendly people, delicious cuisine, and beautiful nature — is ready to expand its travel and tourism industry. The government views the 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 25th session of the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization will be held in Samarkand on October 16-20, 2023. The International Touristic Center “Great Silk Road,” which consists of eight hotels, a conference center, the “Eternal City” complex, an amphitheater, and other facilities has the capacity to serve up to 2 million tourists a year, opened in Samarkand in August 2023. The tourism sector was hit hard in 2020-2021 by the coronavirus pandemic, and hospitality service providers and other sector participants received state support in different forms. The number of foreign tourists visiting Uzbekistan almost tripled from 1.88 million in 2021to 5.2 million in 2022 but has not yet returned to 2019’s pre-pandemic level of 6.75 million. Uzbekistan’s exports of tourism services reached $1.6 billion in 2022 and its targets for 2024 are 7 million foreign tourists and $2.5 billion in tourism exports. As of August 2023, Uzbekistan had established a visa-free regime for the citizens of 90 countries and e-visas for the citizens of 56 countries, including the United States. In February 2021, President Mirziyoyev allocated $100 million for tourism infrastructure development. The government subsidized the construction of three- and four-star hotels with at least 50 rooms to increase the total number of hotel rooms from 20,200 (2018) to 64,000 (2025). A presidential decree signed on July 27, 2023, extended until the end of 2026 subsidies for the construction of three-, four- and five-star hotels and royalties for well-known hotel brand franchises. Also, it lists investment projects worth $630.1 million for the sector’s development.

The government is also promoting pilgrimage tourism. Uzbekistan ranked 13th out of 137 countries in the Global Muslim Travel Index 2023. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation declared Khiva the Tourism Capital of the Islamic World in 2024. With more than 1,200 shrines, the country can potentially attract 1 million pilgrims a year. Officials are working to increase flight connections to Uzbekistan from Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Middle East, train qualified guides, and improve conditions and roads to pilgrimage sites.

Uzbekistan is modernizing and expanding its airports to serve more travelers. State-owned enterprise Uzbekistan Airports separated from Uzbekistan Airways in 2019 and manages Uzbekistan’s 11 international airports. Uzbekistan Airports plans to work with private companies on airport construction projects and management on a tender basis and plans to double the country’s airports’ passenger throughput capacity and triple load throughput capacity by 2026. On January 16, 2023, the company signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Changi International Airports (Singapore), which calls for the joint development of a feasibility study for two potential projects: development of the existing Tashkent International Airport, including improving the competitiveness and quality of passenger service, as well as introducing advanced technologies and increasing passenger traffic; and planning and building a new Tashkent International Airport. The expansion of the existing Tashkent International Airport will be finished by the end of 2023 and will double its throughput capacity to 2400 passengers per hour. The new Samarkand Airport, managed by Air Marakanda, opened in March 2022 and began operating in “open sky” mode in October 2022.

The national aviation market is gradually being liberalized. As of August 2023, there were 8 resident airlines in Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan Airways, Silk Avia, Qanot Sharq, Panorama Airways, Humo Air, Centrum Air, Asia Union Airlines, and Tashkent Air. Resident airlines will receive a subsidy of 25% of the ticket price for domestic flights until 2026.


Table: Travel and Tourism Market Size, Million USD





2023 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



Foreign investors will find the most opportunities in this category in the hospitality sector. International hotel brands are currently found mainly 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 country’s airports in the form of public-private partnerships with an exemption from customs duties and a 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: