Zaamin is calling investors to invest in the development of tourism infrastructure
Zaamin is one of the most picturesque places in Uzbekistan thanks to its unique natural and climatic conditions, ecosystem of the National Park and State Reserve "Zaamin" with over 800 different species of plants and 150 species of rare wild animals, as well as its archaeological and natural monuments, rich culture and unique history. There are huge opportunities here for the development of all types of tourism.
UNDP "Local Governance Support: Participation and Partnership" Project (LGSP) held a Roundtable entitled "Investment proposals in the field of development of tourism infrastructure in Zaamin district, Jizzakh region", which brought together 70 representatives of Hokimiyat of Zaamin district, LGSP, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Department for Hunting, Nature Reserves and National Parks under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan, business community of Tashkent city, Samarkand, Bukhara, Jizzakh and Namangan regions, as well as travel agencies and Mass Media.
The LGSP in collaboration with the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and hokimiyat of Jizzakh region has conducted comprehensive work on the implementation of tourism and investment potential of Zaamin.
The Program Coordinator for Public Administration of UNDP in Uzbekistan Akmal Bazarov stated that "... today’s meeting is mainly aimed at promoting tourism and investment opportunities of Zaamin district all across the country, demonstrating the ways how to raise well-being of local people by means of development of local tourism. Tourism is a major product of economic development and promotion of our country overseas.
It is no coincidence that we chose Samarkand city for organizing such an important event. Thus we intended to bring together business community and travel agencies from Tashkent, Samarkand Bukhara and Zaamin, as well as representatives of government agencies to openly exchange experiences and discuss further interaction in the development of environmental and local tourism in Zaamin".
The Task Manager for Public-Private Partnership of LGSP Aider Gafarov informed the participants about the ongoing activities on strengthening of capacity of guest houses and tour guides in Zaamin, development of tourist routes and logistics, entertaining cultural programs. It was also noted that the Project is planning to complete the installation of road signs and information plaques along the tourist routes and guest houses by the end of July this year. Moreover, informative handouts, souvenirs and other promotional materials are made to promote the tourist zone of Zaamin.
"With a view to further develop the tourist infrastructure of Zaamin, capable of receiving both local and foreign tourists all year round, the LGSP experts developed concrete investment proposals on construction of modular guest houses, cafés, restaurants and entertainment facilities in Zaamin National Park, as well as creation of comfortable living conditions that meet the modern hotel business terms, - A.Gafarov told. - All interested potential investors and travel agencies are welcomed to implement these projects".
The representative of Zaamin District Khokimiyat Erkin Yuldashev thanked the LGSP for high level organization of the Round Table and significant work done to promote local tourism in Zaamin. He emphasized that that the outcomes of the Round Table and reached agreements on development of tourism industry in Zaamin are a clear confirmation of a successful future of Zaamin.
The event aroused great interest among many entrepreneurs and tour operators. In particular, Private Enterprise "Jizzakh Kohinur" President, winner of the Republican Contest "Tashabbus-2012" Ms. Holiskhon Babaev noted: "... I am from Jizzakh region and I am very pleased to learn about the activities on development of tourism in Zaamin, which have been carried out by such a prestigious international organization as UNDP. On my part, I stand ready to make every effort and render all possible assistance in this respect. It is with great pleasure to announce that one of my trade partners an Iranian businessman Mr. Jaafari also showed an interest in investing in investment projects of Zaamin. Such desire is evoked due to the fact that Mr. Jafari got recovered from his long-lasted disease in Zaamin thanks to its pure and fresh mountain air, local honey and goat's milk".
The representatives of a construction company "Staldom module" made a presentation entitled "Construction of modular mini-hotels in the National Park". Participants were thoroughly familiarized with the process of developing modern prefabricated modules of frame-panel construction, specifications of technology and production, installation of modular facilities in the mountains, as well as their costs, benefits and timing of the installation.
The presentation of the Director of Travel Agency "Havas-Travel" Ms. Nargiza Amanbaeva entitled "Zaamin - a new trend in the tourism business" made a particular impression on the participants. Ms. Amanbaeva emphasized the importance of development of active form of tourism in Zaamin as far as it has more competitive position given its unique geographical location in the middle of the main tourist route "Samarkand-Tashkent" and available significant cultural, archaeological and recreational resources.
The Head of Foreign Economic Relations Unit of the Department for Hunting, Nature Reserves and National Parks Mr. Imomali Ergashev spoke about the terms of land lease in the National Park of Zaamin. He said that ground areas are granted for construction to 10-year period through bilateral agreement on land lease. He also briefed on general provisions and legal acts of protected natural areas, including Zaamin National Park, as well as the peculiarities of organization of local and foreign tourism in the forest, the state reserves, national parks, biosphere and hunting reserves.
The statement of Mr. Ergashev provoked a lively discussion among investors and tour companies, who unanimously pointed out that the 10-year term of land lease contract is relatively short, while considering the fact that main tourist season in Zaamin lasts only three months. In this regard, it was suggested to set a 50-year period for the lease to ensure at least the cost recovery of allocated fund for the construction of such facilities. There were also few comments on overrated prices set for organizing ecological tours for foreign nationals in the territory of the state forests of Uzbekistan, where the entrance fee per tourist (permission to conduct tours in areas of protected natural sites) is $21, while the provision of a guide staff - $40, organization of a specialized routes in areas of environmental sites - $110, etc.
During the event, the participants also put forward several proposals on development of tourism infrastructure in Zaamin, entry and staying regulations for tourists and visitors of Zaamin National Park, including payment terms, and the results of preparation of Zaamin for the new tourist season.
Based on the outcome of meeting and discussions, the participants expressed a willingness to consider the investment projects proposed by the LGSP and agreed to combine all efforts to address issues related to ensuring of effective and comprehensive development of tourism in Zaamin. In particular to invite foreign and local tourists to Zaamin for the next season and continue seeking potential investors to implement investment projects on construction of tourist facilities in Zaamin.