Citizens from India will be able to travel to Uzbekistan using an electronic visa from July this year. The move comes as part of an on-going effort to boost tourism in Uzbekistan.
A visa-friendly system is already in place for Indians wishing to visit Uzbekistan. They can currently use an invitation letter to apply for a visa but the new eVisa will make the process even simpler.
Farhod Arziev, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to India, said that the eVisa system will further ease the process to enhance more travel exchanges between the two countries. He said that Uzbekistan offers a wide range of attractions for tourists. "Indians can feel at home in our country", he said.
“There are more than 7,000 historic and heritage spots in Uzbekistan, out of which at least 1,000 places are closely connected with Islamic culture. There are so many places associated with the life of renowned Islamic scholars across Uzbekistan. The country, therefore, attracts a lot of spiritual tourists for Ziyarat,” he said.
He said that Uzbekistan has unspoiled natural landscapes which could appeal to Bollywwod production teams. “We have already started negotiations with a couple of Bollywood companies and they admitted that the package that we are offering is quite attractive. Traditionally, we have a well-developed cinema industry in Uzbekistan, that gives us a special strength,” he said.
Electronic visas part of Uzbekistan's wider strategy
The move to allow Indian travelers to enter Uzbekistan using eVisas is part of a much wider strategy to use smart technology, including electronic visas to develop tourism in the country. The eVisa system has become commonplace around the world in recent years. Including in some of Uzbekistan's neighboring countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia.
With conventional visas, visitors from non-visa-exempt countries have to physically go to an embassy or consulate to obtain a travel authorization to Uzbekistan. Electronic visas allow citizens from eligible countries to complete the application online, saving them time and hassle.
To complete the application form for the Uzbekistan e-Visa it will be necessary to make a payment using a credit or debit card. If the application is approved the e-Visa is sent to the applicant electronically.
The campaign to introduce smart technology in Uzbekistan will extend to cultural sites and points of interest. A large number of historical monuments in Bukhara have already been equipped with QR codes. They allow people to receive relevant information on their mobiles or tablets in a couple of seconds.
The plan is to eventually install QR codes around hotels and restaurants too and to provide information in 12 languages. The government is developing the technology in Bukhara but plans to install it throughout the country.
The smart technology will open up the possibilities for virtual tours, audio guides, mobile translation apps, as well as instantly-available information about points of interest.