Significant efforts have been made to showcase Uzbekistan’s vast opportunities in India. As a result, a growing number of Indian travellers are keen on discovering popular Uzbekistan destinations, says Ikboljon O. Soliev, Counsellor- First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in India in a conversation with TravelBiz Monitor.
Q. Enumerate on the history and significance of the diplomatic ties between India and Uzbekistan.
The close and friendly relations between Uzbekistan and India have deep historical roots. India is well-known in Uzbekistan for its rich history, unique culture, and as a nation with which the Uzbek people have maintained centuries-old cultural, trade, and economic connections, primarily characterised by bonds of sincere friendship.
On March 18, 2022, Uzbekistan and India celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. India was among the first countries to recognise Uzbekistan’s independence. Consolidating the long-term strategic partnership with India is one of the priorities of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy. The relations between Uzbekistan and India have reached new heights in recent years.
Q. What has made Uzbekistan focus on India as a tourism source market?
Uzbekistan is located in the Central Asian region, which makes it a unique location both to explore and discover from many angles as a promising tourist destination. The country boasts of its wonderful nature and climate consisting of four seasons in a year, which are spring, summer, autumn and winter. This fact also makes Uzbekistan to be a pretty attractive destination for all tourists round the world, especially and in particular, those who would love to travel there from India, since the Indian tourists have nourished specific travel appetites in terms of choosing both the snows high up in the mountains, as much as springtime blossoms in the greeneries and summertime leisure, and finally, enjoying fall elsewhere from Indian Peninsula.
Since September this year, both parties have engaged in significant activities across various tourism segments, such as social media promotions and organising roadshows. The Indian market response has been positive, and we anticipate welcoming more travellers from India.
Q. Tell us about some of the key tourist attractions of Uzbekistan.
No other country in the Central Asian region can boast of its so many things to see and explore for any traveller, who chooses Uzbekistan, which invites its guests, from India in particular, to come to its capital city of Tashkent to enjoy a truly Uzbek warm-hearted hospitality. There is a splendid mixture of modernity and history, which gets intertwined in the eyes of visitor, who comes to this both ancient and contemporary business city.
Samarkand is the city, which has been sung for many centuries as a place and unique destination for visitors from all around Uzbekistan and elsewhere from the world. Similarly, Bukhara, once in the medieval Central Asia an administrative center for a Bukhara Emirate, is now a flourishing city in Uzbekistan. And Khiva – being located in the north of Uzbekistan, still is one of the most attractive destinations for any tourist.
Q. What is the visa process for Indians to travel to Uzbekistan?
The visa procedure is smooth and quick. The visitors can apply both for paper-type entry visas glued in their respective travel documents and through an electronic visa system, known as e-Visa.
According to the legislation of Uzbekistan, the foreign citizens and stateless persons can enter Uzbekistan or travel through its territory for transit on the basis of entrance visas only.
The foreign citizens and stateless persons can get visas at the Uzbekistan diplomatic and consular missions abroad based on the visa support, which means confirmation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The foreign citizens and stateless persons arriving from the countries where there is no diplomatic or consular mission of Uzbekistan can get visas upon arrival at the Visa Section of the Uzbekistan MFA at the Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport.
Q. Which are the traveller segments gaining traction from India to Uzbekistan?
Since early this year much has been done to showcase Uzbekistan in India in terms of its vast opportunities. Many travellers from India are getting interested to explore Uzbekistan’s popular destinations such as Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and other places. Currently, wedding tourism is gaining momentum.
Q. What kind of air connectivity does Uzbekistan have with India? Are you in talks with India to expand the air services agreement to increase flights?
Uzbekistan Airways national carrier connects the capital cities of both countries – Tashkent and Delhi as per 4-6 flights per week, depending on its spring-summer and fall-winter schedules. Apart from that, an IndiGo has launched its regular flights along the route Delhi-Tashkent-Delhi on September 22, 2023. Another Uzbekistan private low-cost airline Air Centrum is planning to launch flights to Goa.