Development for Tourism, Tourism for Development

Urazboy and his family enjoy the benefits of his new business
UNDP in Uzbekistan: For rural families like Urazboy's, the development of tourism in the Zaamin region means an opportunity for a better life

The Zaamin region of Uzbekistan’s countryside has untold potential for adventure tourism. While this is great news for the domestic and international holidaymakers who have made their way to the new hotspot, efforts have been made to ensure that their arrival will directly benefit local residents like Urazboy Esiragpov and his family.

“Before now I used to make a living off the land, but now I have created a guest house business which sees regular customers throughout the year,” Mr. Esiragpov said, as he sits with his wife and children in a new living-room, one fruit of his newfound success.

Highlights

  • The Zaamin brand has become a fixture at international tourism fairs, drawing business to the region and to Uzbekistan as a whole.
  • The Zaamin region's popularity has encouraged the creation of a new eco-tourism industry and considerable community development.

“This summer my family served more than 60 tourists, including 2 groups of foreigners, and we are expecting more in the coming season. I feel very happy to be able to give my family a good life, and to be able to afford a lot of things that I couldn’t before.”

Since 2010, UNDP’s ‘Local Governance Support Project: Participation and Partnership’ has worked in close partnership with the Zaamin’s local government and citizens in order to enhance the region’s tourism potential in a sustainable and culturally-appropriate manner, thereby ensuring that local residents remain those who will most benefit from the initiatives.

A number of tourism businesses have been established and upgraded in the region, including 12 guest houses, 2 camping sites and one hotel, informational centres at natural and archaeological sites, and a 350-metre ski-run at a popular resort. These facilities have all been managed and operated by local residents, providing important employment and revenue streams.

10 information boards and 20 roadside signs have also been established, 80 local tourism professionals have been trained, and the Zaamin region has become the first in Uzbekistan to receive its own brand, website and Facebook page (www.zaamin.uz). Zaamin’s brand has become a fixture at international tourism fairs, drawing business to the region and to Uzbekistan as a whole.

Rustam Rasulov, a representative of the Travel Ornament tour agency who has joined a project-supported tour to the Zaamin region, has noted that the development of the region’s tourism industry has benefited visitors and locals alike.

“This work, including the repairing of roads, the construction of new tourist sites and the restoration and upgrading of old ones, is very promising,” he said.