Uzbekistan is planning to develop its tourist industry by introducing smart technologies including a new e-Visa for Uzbekistan. The large-scale campaign to attract tourists will also include electronic access to cultural sites and points of interest.
The e-Visa system has become commonplace throughout the world in recent years with countries such as India and Egypt as well as some of Uzbekistan's neighboring countries, notably Azerbaijan and Georgia. According to the Uzbek State Committee on Tourism, the success of the other schemes will be examined.
Currently, tourists from non-visa-exempt countries have to queue at an embassy in order to obtain a travel authorization to Uzbekistan, the new electronic system will allow travelers to skip this process. The application will be completed online, and documentation will be submitted digitally. Payment for obtaining an electronic visa will be made by credit or debit card.
Before the scheme is implemented, Uzbekistan will need to obtain the necessary equipment, develop the software, and test the e-Visa system using the developed infrastructure.
Smart technology to boost tourism in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan's State Committee on Tourism is initiating the development of a concept of smart technologies at cultural heritage sites and in state museums.
It has been reported that around 50 historical monuments in Bukhara have already been equipped with QR codes which allow visitors to receive relevant information in just a couple of seconds. The tourist agency is using Bukhara as a testing ground, and are hoping to replicate the model across all regions of the country.
This is just the beginning, QR codes are going to be installed not only at points of interests but also at facilities such as restaurants and hotels. The information will be available in 12 languages.
The concept should also include electronic visitor registration systems, virtual tours, audio guides, mobile translation apps, and catalogs of information of interest to tourists such as historical information.
A fascinating country on the Old Silk Road
The history of Uzbekistan is fascinating. If you are interested in the old Silk Road but do not have the time to travel from China to Turkey you can see three cities considered to be some of the jewels along the ancient trade route that used to connect Europe and Asia: Bukhara, Khiva, and Samarkand. The three cities have all been meticulously restored and allowing visitors to take a glimpse into the past.
You can find some picturesque 12th-century mosques, alongside some more brutal architecture which was built in the Soviet era. Khiva, the walled city, is a UNESCO site still populated by Uzbek families. It was founded in the 6th century and contains some fascinating structures including mosques and mausoleums.
The tourism infrastructure has improved significantly in recent years. There are now over a thousand tourist organizations and an extensive network of hotels. Getting around Uzbekistan is also much easier than it was in the ancient days of the Old Silk Road, the road network is fantastic, there are high-speed trains, bus services, and a metro system.