Uzbekistan To Give Visa-Free Entry To Chinese Nationals From 1st January
Uzbekistan has become the first Central Asian country to allow Chinese nationals visa-free access, commencing from 1st January next year. The move will permit Chinese tourists access to Uzbekistan for seven days visa free and is aimed directly at the tourism industry, a sector that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has targeted for development. China is the world’s biggest market in outbound tourism with nearly 150 million outbound visits made by Chinese travelers last year, an increase of 14.7%.
Earlier this year, Uzbekistan gave 30 day visa-free access to citizens from 43 countries. It has had an impact. Uzbek officials said that tourist numbers had risen by 42% in the first quarter of the year to 1.3 million, a surge that has boosted revenues and opened up the country which was previously regarded as near off-limits. Infrastructure, and in particular hotels and travel, has been a major beneficiary of this new policy. An example is the announcement last week that a new air terminal will be built at Samarkand airport. Many airlines now fly direct to Samarkand, which is close to where many of Uzbekistan’s most famous sites are located.
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