“Uzbekistan Has a Good Chance to Be a Regional Center for MICE Tourism”

Rezida Fatkalislamova, Head of the Sales and Marketing Department, Hilton Tashkent City

These days Uzbekistan shows incredible growth in so many sectors of its economy. One of the fastest-growing sectors is tourism. The country is becoming more open, the visa regulations have changed and Uzbekistan, which used to be like a white spot on the map, is now considered an attractive business and travel destination. The combination of all these factors along with huge infrastructural projects creates ideal conditions for MICE tourism. Now, its perspectives in the country are just perfect.

New Direction

The number of all types of international and regional events in Uzbekistan has been growing for several years. Exhibitions, conferences, and congresses are organized not only in the Uzbekistani capital Tashkent but also in other large cities all over the country. Everything mentioned above is the result of huge interest to Uzbekistan from companies that organize big business events. 

For our country, a large congress or conference is something new, so many local and international event agencies want to explore our discussion platforms. On top of that, there are lots of opportunities in Uzbekistan for active tourism, visiting historical monuments, medical treatment and leisure. And of course, all these factors play their role when a program of an event is being discussed. As everyone knows, MICE tourism is not about just meetings or negotiations; it’s also about cultural events and free time for event attendants. 

However, Uzbekistan is not a tourist center, many have no idea about our country, and there is plenty of work to do so far. Our biggest problem is the lack of infrastructure. Yes, several international hotels, including Hilton, were opened recently but a more complex approach is needed if we want to solve that problem with infrastructure. The same approach can be applied not only to construction but also to regulation and incentive program development.

What Is the Interest of the State?

The hotel business in the city of Tashkent has started to get over the consequences of the pandemic even though it makes this process is gradual. Last spring when the tourist season had just begun, the rate of room occupancy was about 10% on average. However, when the quarantine restrictions were softened last September, the industry showed modest growth. For example, throughout February and March, room occupancy was about 40%. But anyway, this is still twofold lower than it used to be several years ago. 

The government has no doubts that tourism in Uzbekistan must play a bigger role. That’s why it supports a wide range of programs aimed at the development of hotel businesses. And during these tough times, it means a lot for the entire industry. For example, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in conjunction with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) work on new regulations, which can allow us to develop MICE tourism and to promote Uzbekistan as a new brand on the international travel market. This is incredibly important work and I am happy to see it not only in Tashkent but all over the country. 

Kazakhstani Businesses in Tashkent 

The number of business events last year was minimum because amidst the pandemic many of them had switched online. However, Uzbekistan looks different when compared to other Central Asia states. The epidemiological situation in the country is stable and the number of COVID cases is low compared to other countries. Almost every week the regular flights to various destinations are reopening. In other words, Uzbekistan is on its way back to normal and business events are back as well.

Big interest in Uzbekistan as a venue for a wide range of business events is demonstrated by entrepreneurs from neighboring Kazakhstan. Many of them prefer to organize big events and forums in Tashkent and other Uzbekistani cities. Our hotel has a busy schedule of events by Kazakhstani entities. They are going to organize not just forums but also tours across Uzbekistan for their employees as they want to combine business with leisure.

Quality of Service 

Hilton is located in the territory of Tashkent City, which will be the downtown of our capital. For example, there is a huge Congress Hall near us. It has 16 conference rooms and a full capacity of five thousand people. One of these conference rooms can be transformed into a space of 4,900 square meters. Moreover, our hotel is also prepared for big events with as many as 1,500 attendants. There is no other venue in Tashkent with similar features. That’s why we can consider Hilton a center of MICE tourism in Uzbekistan. 

However, a new hotel by the Hampton chain is expected to be open very soon. This chain is a part of the Hilton umbrella brand. Moreover, in two or three years more Hilton hotels will appear in Uzbekistan. 

We want guests who stay in our hotel and attend events here to come back over and over again. Therefore, our top priority is the best quality of services, which directly depends on personnel. However, there is a lack of qualified people in the Uzbekistani tourism industry. To solve this problem, we are not afraid to work with newcomers; we want to bring them up on our own. And it works because newcomers have no stereotypes, they want to learn and do their best. Given the fast-growing competition on the market, it makes a difference for any business in the industry.

Hilton offers the best conditions for work and leisure in the capital of Uzbekistan.

kak-v-uzbekistane-razvivaetsya-mice-turizm2.jpgPhoto: Hilton Tashkent City

The Hilton Tashkent City hotel, which is a part of the Hilton Hotels & Resorts chain, was opened in December 2019 in downtown Tashkent. Even though it has been working for less than two years, tourists and locals are already used to visiting the hotel. 

There are 258 rooms, including eight presidential luxury apartments in French, English, Arabic and Classical style. Each apartment is 250 square meters in size.

Another feature is the fancy Serenity Spa with a pool and fitness center. It’s available around the clock. Many like to be here for recovering after a long day or just having fun on weekends. The total square area of the spa with five treatment rooms, VIP zone, Finnish, and steam saunas is 1,400 square meters.  
Moreover, Hilton Tashkent City is well-known for its high-grade restaurants with different cuisine. For example, you can enjoy Pan Asian food with wonderful night views of Tashkent in City 21 Restaurant & Lounge with a terrace on the 21st floor. Another restaurant Shosh serves guests with breakfast cooked under the Hilton Breakfast concept. Traditional bar Tumbler offers traditional dishes, and Lobby Lounge bar is a popular venue for a business meeting over a cup of coffee.
 

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